Irse is an international theatre project about migration in which theatre and the reality of migration merge. In which moments of being together are followed by moments of serious reflection on identity and nationality.
The project starts in the summer of 2011 when theatre group Artzénico from Guatemala works together with New Orleans’ Goat in the Road in an artistic residency. A work-in-progress on the theme of borders is created in an three intensive weeks. An essential part of the process are workshops with local youth and Mexican and Central-American immigrants in the N.O.H.A. dance group. The resulting piece Fronteras is presented in the Shadowbox Theatre in New Orleans.
With Armadillo a puppet theater group from Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, we start a new creative process. A piece about migration. We rehearse and experiment with borderless internet communication, we put up an immigration checkpoint in the middle of the city in the performance Cruzar el Puente, we preent another work-in-process and eventually premiere our play Irse in the Teatro Municipal of neighbour city Totonicapán, Guatemala in May 2012. The play is then presented in Amsterdam because of an Armadillo residency in the Netherlands and the graduation of director Jordi Möllering.
Theater on the migrant route
Hundreds and thousands of indocumented Central American migrants travel through Mexico on their way to the U.S. annualy. They are on their way to a better life for them and their families, but the journey know many risks. A means of transportation is an unforgiving freight train, on the road organized crime and corrupt authorities await; for them migrants are goods.
Although we had already made a play about migration, we had no idea of the migration reality yet. We felt the obligation of sharing our work with migrants, the main subject of our play, and to live the experience of the migrant route; let the migrant route change our play. Let the play become migrant.
From September till Bovember 2012 we travel and visit migrant shelters and cultural centres, where we conduct workshops. Migrants become actors in a play about migration, communities involved in migration – where opinions about the subject can be divided and extreme – share a theatrical experience that leads to reflection.
Irse in Africa and Europe
In September and October 2013 we will take the project to Morrocco, Spain, France, Belgium and the Netherlands. The migration theme in Europe is very complex; like on the American continent there is a north-south movement from Africa to Europe, but there are also many people from non-Western routes that call Europe their home, thee are undocumented migrants and refugees.
Like in Mexico and the U.S. the project Irse aims to make migrants the centre of a theatrical experience; alongside the presentation of the play irse, with participation of local extras, we will work on presentations with groups of migrants, that will be shared with people in their surroundings; the goal is to bring together people from different origins and contexts and make them reflect on the same issue in a theatrical way.
The groups Artzénico and Armadillo will meet many different types of migrants and different types of migrants. This will make the play Irse migrate once more.