This Beach is Brokentalkers' response to the refugee crisis currently gripping Europe. We caught up with one of the company's founders, Gary Keegan, to talk about the importance of this work and how someone else's suffering can be authentically and respectfully represented on stage.
1. Describe the show in five words?
What goes around comes around.
2. What can the audiences expect?
This Beach is a satire about entitlement and fear of “others.” The vast majority of the script is made up of found text, and not from wholly extremist sources either! But also from the person on the street who happened to wander in front of a reporter's microphone on the High Street and respond to a question about migration with, “the majority of them are extremists” or, “It's not our country anymore.”
We wrote This Beach from the point of view of a European family who are living in fear of an existential threat from an invading force in the form of displaced refugees fleeing a terrible war. This threat is not real but their fear is very real. And very dangerous. We think the allegory is pretty clear and the audience might well recognise – or perhaps even relate to – the characters on the beach and their fear of invasion. Untimely we hope that that by feeding back some of the anti-refugee sentiments to the audience in a satirical way, we might see it for what it is.
3. What does it mean to be presenting This Beach at Tiger Dublin Fringe?
We are delighted! Fringe is where everything kicked off for Brokentalkers back in 2006 with ‘On This One Night’ which was a site-specific, messy work that really divided audiences. Fringe is a place to push ourselves formally. The audiences are smart and tend to go along with you. Also, the standard of the work at Fringe has exploded in the last 10 years. So we have to try to up our game too, which is a good thing!
4. Have there been any difficulties in making this piece?
We began with the idea to use testimony from refugees who had made their way to Europe “in order not to die.” We visited a refugee camp in Spandau, Berlin in June 2015 and met with a group of refugees who also happened to run a theatre group. It became very clear that through their art they were already telling their story. And that we were one in a long line of white artists who were shopping for an authentic testimony of suffering. They questioned us about our intentions, our motivations. It was awkward. It was also revelatory. On the way back to the airport we decided we could only truthfully tell this story from the perspective of white, privileged people.
5. What other shows are you excited to see in Tiger Dublin Fringe?
Looking forward to seeing RIOT by THISISPOPBABY although they will be raging when they find out President Higgins couldn’t do their show because he is actually working as choreographer on This Beach.