Borders

Henry Naylor

Redbeard Theatre Ltd. and Gilded Balloon Productions

Gilded Balloon Teviot

From 02 August 2017 to 28 August 2017

Rating: ****

Review by Keith Mckenna

Thousands of people have now attempted the dangerous sea journey across the Mediterranean in the hope of sanctuary in Europe.

In two gripping monologues, Henry Naylor’s play Borders gives us the opportunity of seeing more fully two characters who find themselves on this crossing during the refugee crises.

Both are artists but they have a very different experience.

Sebastian (Graham O’Mara) is a British photojournalist who graduated from college with a passion to make the world a better place.

An early commission takes him on a long journey to photograph Bin Laden—“the tedious terrorist”—before 9/11 had made him famous. Being one of the few journalists who had ever met Bin Laden, that journey propels him into a very successful celebrity career earning vast sums for doing very little.

The Syrian artist “Nameless” (Avital Lyova) describes the ruthless arrest and murder by the Syrian dictator’s security force of her father for distributing dissident leaflets.

She joins a group of artists spray painting dissident graffiti by night at a time when the Arab Spring is inspiring millions. It means dodging not only the security services but also groups described as “jihadis” who object to her failing to cover her head.

After she becomes pregnant and a brutal chemical attack by Assad destroys her home, her mother finds a way to send her on the risky journey to Europe.

At about the same time, the complacent cynical and wealthy Sebastian is confronted by an angry drunk journalist with the words: ”we did it... We build walls and we vote to fuck (refugees) off”.

It provokes him to join a UN fact finding mission to the Mediterranean where he will briefly meet Nameless.

The play paints a strong, warm and believable image of Nameless and acts as an urgent plea to react in a more humane way to the refugee crises at a time when the United Nations claims that the death rate in the Mediterranean during the first five months of this year is double that of the same five months of last year.