Phase 2 at Calais Jungle

It’s rare that all one’s skills and pleasures converge. I am enjoying such a convergence.

For three days, I will direct a play by refugee actors who live in Calais Jungle refugee camp. They will perform for an audience of 450 at Caritas’ conference on migrants in Saint Malo, France on August 27, 2016. The proper directors, Bertrand Degremond and Gregory Barco, return Monday to retake their place at the helm.

Meanwhile, I use my background in psychology, performance, stage skills, and cross-cultural communication to shape a play that both informs and connects audience with actors.

The refugee actors created the play to tell their story – a treacherous boat ride from Egypt to Italy, abuse by Italian police, the long walk to France. It’s moving, rhythmic, visually compelling, and pulses with Sudanese and French music.

At rehearsals, I have the pleasure of sharing insights and authenticity with these new friends — men in their twenties and thirties from Sudan, Iran, and Afghanistan. We dance, sing, and do haka in rehearsal, sit knee to knee making music and talking softly in their tent and at the beach. I receive as many hugs as a person from a northern land can soak up.

Of course, cultural differences challenge all of us. We’re riding a beautiful, bumpy road, creating something together, experiencing power, art and the respectful sharing of ideas. And for me, convergence. image

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Author: earefuge

I direct EAR (Expressive Arts Refuge) whose work focuses on refugee youth in France and Greece. At home in Oakland, California, I direct World Harmony Chorus and World Harmony Ensemble.

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