‘Cartography’ seeks to bring about a greater understanding of the plight of refugees.
“We are in the middle of one of the largest mass migrations in human history,” says Kaneza Schaal, a theatre director and performer whose play Cartography, made with Christopher Myers, was recently in rehearsals at New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD). “We wanted to think what tools we had as artists in this situation to make a context for young people to share stories together.”
Cartography, which premieres at the Kennedy Centre in Washington DC in January, addresses not the typical theatre-going public, but young people – many the same age as those attempting these border crossings on their own – and uses technology to draw them in.
At the recent rehearsal at NYUAD, schoolchildren from Al Raha sat neatly in attendance. For this iteration, the play was broken into two: first, a dialogue-driven performance in which three women sketched what they had fled from and their encounters along the way.
Then, secondly, the audience were asked to take out their mobile phones. The kids rustled through their backpacks and began logging into a network that was created especially for the production.
A blank screen appeared behind the performers while a map was presented on the phones. Schaal and Myers then asked the audience to trace their own journeys to Abu Dhabi and, if they wished, the countries their parents and grandparents had also moved to and from.
Full article: The National