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Babylon: Journeys of Refugees

Sandglass Theater (USA)

9/20, 8 PM, New England Youth Theatre, Brattleboro tickets
9/21, 8 PM, New England Youth Theatre, Brattleboro tickets

Seven puppets in need of asylum wash up on a metaphorical shore. The refugees come from Syria, Afghanistan, El Salvador, and Burundi, one is a voiceless caterpillar and one is a ghost from a war past who is still on her journey. In Babylon, the blending of actual testimony with fictitious figures gives us a view into how we respond to the enormity of this crisis.

This production looks at the relationship of refugees to their homelands, lost and new, and the conflicts that exist within American communities to which they have fled. Working with the Vermont USCRI/Refugee Resettlement Program, the company interviewed 9 “new Americans” (compiling 15 hours of recorded interviews), in order to gain first hand insight into their plight, trauma and the challenges of resettlement. The process of trust building and listening is at the core of the work. Using full sized, table-top puppets and moving panoramic scrolls, the cast tells the refugees’ stories in original four-part choral songs. Babylon also explores our own attention spans, how capable we are to stay interested in the duration of someone else’s journey – one that does not end with the arrival in a new land.

“Again and again I am also awed by the sensitivity and nuance Sandglass brings to difficult subjects. This expertise will be brought to bear once again in the telling of the immigrant story. At its core, this is a story about the endurance of the human spirit. However, we also recognize how the topic of immigration has become charged and politicized. We need Sandglass, the power of their art, and the magic of puppetry to have this conversation in our community.”

-Aimée M. Petrin, Executive & Artistic Director of Portland Ovations