Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 16 October 2019

New Abu Dhabi play highlights plight of refugees

The production at NYUAD tells the story of two young brothers from Afghanistan

Flight is being performed at NYUAD.
Flight is being performed at NYUAD.

A new Abu Dhabi play is bringing home the harsh reality of life as a refugee to a UAE audience.

Flight tells the story of two young brothers from Afghanistan attempting to make their way to Europe.

Based on a book called Hinterland by novelist Caroline Brothers, the production has so far proved a smash-hit.

Some said they found the performance heart-wrenching, mirroring their own experiences of being forced to flee their native country.

“Performing it here in the Middle East is like bringing the story home,” said Ms Brothers.

“There are few parts of the world that are as intensely multi-cultural as Abu Dhabi.

“For many of the students here, this is the story of their own families.”

Flight is being performed at New York University Abu Dhabi until September 21.

The production, by Scottish company Vox Motus, is limited to 25 audience members per performance.

Each person is seated in their own booth with the story of the two Afghans unfolding in front of them.

Instead of actors, theatre-goers are treated to a moving carousel of miniature models which help narrate the story while music and dialogue is played through headphones.

“Countries in this region are often the first recipient of refugees and shoulder a huge burden,” said Australian-born Ms Brothers.

“The response [to the play] has been amazing. It is a subject that is very close to home for a lot of the students.”

In recent years, areas of the Middle East have been beset by refugee populations desperate to escape conflict.

Flight is being performed at NYUAD
Flight is being performed at NYUAD

More than 5.6 million people have fled Syria since 2011, with many heading to countries such as Turkey and Lebanon.

Candice Edmunds, who directs Flight, said she had not initially understood how much the issue had impacted the region.

“The response [from audience members] has been really touching,” she said.

“One Afghan student said it made him reflect on his own uncle’s journey to New Zealand.

“People want to have a conversation after watching it and that’s a theatre-maker’s dream.”

Updated: September 18, 2019 08:18 PM

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