Refugees are a big topic lately here in Washington, DC. The land of in-between, where your future hangs on a packet of paperwork and some interviews is daunting, no matter where you come from or where you are going. ‘Cartography’ sums up the stories of refugees from a young person’s perspective. This diverse cast of individuals celebrates the beauty of home, wherever that may be and reminds us that we all came from somewhere for a purpose.
This piece allows audiences a chance to watch five young people discover what it means to leave home behind and start a new life.
“Cartography” was co-created by Kaneza Schaal and Christopher Myers. Schaal directed while Myers developed the text and design. This piece is a nonlinear exploration of themes surrounding the journey refugees take. There are several countries and cultures represented and they all converge in one place to tell their stories.
The ensemble of actors includes Janice Amaya, Noor Hamdi, Victoria Nassif, Vuyo Sotashe, and Malaika Uwamahoro. Each one brought their own connection to these stories and cultures. They had incredible stamina and compelling musicality to the text. Their ability to connect with each other and the audience created a truly unique and personal theatrical experience, causing the audience to feel more connected with one another.
“Cartography” has taken the trend in theatre towards projections and video to a new level by making it interactive with the audience. Each audience member is given the opportunity to participate in the projection with their cell phone right from their seats. This was a truly original concept that worked beautifully in telling the bigger story of every person in the room. The interactive video was designed by
The set design by Myers consisted of many large packing boxes that were reconfigured to create different locations and give the stage a different feel. These boxes served several purposes and the actors were able to utilize them in creative ways. The actors also used gold mylar blankets to represent various objects and to create sound on stage.
The sound by Anthony Fertel Dean, propelled the story along with it’s rhythmic pacing and stirring underscore. The lights by Chelsie McPhilimy aided in the storytelling by clearly partnering with the boxes to show location.
This piece allows audiences a chance to watch five young people discover what it means to leave home behind and start a new life. Each individual has their own perspective and we are given the opportunity to hear their shared and differing experiences. We are each
Running Time: 70 minutes.
“Cartography” runs in the Family Theater at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts through January 13. For tickets and information click here.