Film

Irina Patkanian – Film director (irinapatkanian.com); lensed by Gus Ford (gusfordphotography.com)

Scenes from immersive documentary film projected on a screen transpose images of dinghies overcrowded with refugees disembarking on Lesvos shores and walking towards refugee camps. By the end of the play we realize that what we have been watching on screen is what happens after Iphigenia and million others cross over the Aegean sea.

ACT 1. CROSSING THE BORDER. ARRIVAL
Blue sea, yellow sand. Present time. Boats overcrowded with families are crossing, arriving, disembarking on Lesvos shore. Cries turn into cheers. Life vests turn into golden foil.

ACT 2. LIFE IN A REFUGEE CAMP
Fences, white tents, mud. Refugee camp on Lesvos. Women crowd around the only faucet washing themselves, their clothes and their children in red buckets. An old man is holding a clothes line. A little girl is unsuccessfully trying on a long pearl necklace.

ACT 3. WALKING THE WEST Dusty roads of Greece, highways of France, sidewalks of Berlin. Unending lines of families. Mothers and fathers queue for food, for papers, for a place to sleep. Throughout the performance the film’s soundtrack has been muted. During the last scene, we free and release its voice, and a young woman – a Syrian refugee – burst into a song staring directly into the eyes of the audience.

We spent September and October of 2015 on Lesbos island, Greece where the refugee crisis was unfolding. On average 70 boats came every day with 4,200 people. A third of them are children. After disembarking, children get wrapped up into silver and gold thermal blankets. The golden foil, a bit scary at first, eventually makes these children of strange lands look like precious gifts to us all – wonderful, undeserved, holding the mystery to the future.