Ferrybank South, Wexford, Y35 X5HF, Ireland
After the success of Kalen’s Ellen last year, the Paris based theatre group TAM, run by Wexford born Tonya Trappe is back this year with a moving play about the ongoing refugee crisis in Greece entitled THE CROSSING. The play was written by Dominique Chryssoulis and translated from the French by Tonya Trappe and Jenny Gilbert. The cast includes Mia Leahy, Juliette Togashi and Tonya Trappe. Lighting and design by Maureen Beguin.
Three very different women meet on a Greek Island. One is a local, another is a tourist and the third is a migrant. Éléni, the local woman is the wife of a fisherman. She and her husband have recently moved to a new part of the Island to avoid seeing the migrants arriving.
Marilyn is a tourist who wants to have a nice relaxing holiday. She also wants to avoid seeing the migrants and so seeks accommodation far from the port. Éléni offers her a room, explaining that her husband is depressed and « has fallen ill from it all. Rescuing the living, recovering dead bodies every day that god sends. The fishermen are afraid of what they will catch in their nets »
Marylin reluctantly agrees to take the room but eventually the two woman become friends.
Nora arrives, she is a refugee from a war-torn country. She has walked and walked to try to calm her anxiety about her brother who is going to attempt the crossing that night. Marilyn takes pity on Nora, who is tired and thirsty. She invites Nora to join Éléni and herself on the beach. Nora tells them her incredibly tragic story. She describes her long and arduous journey culminating in the crossing from Turkey to the Island.
More than just a background, the sea is an integral part of the intrigue. It evokes happy childhood memories, it provides nourishment, more significantly it can either save or kill.
The Crossing is a play that does not judge. The Greeks are in the middle of an economic crisis. They barely have enough to feed themselves. They are doing what they can, and they too are suffering under the strain. Marilyn has a better understanding of the situation by the end of the play.
The Crossing explores all the complexities of the various feelings towards the migrants. It does not seek to evoke pity or anger, but it is a call to take action now before it is too late.