(Lyn Gardner’s article appeared in the Guardian, 12/17.)
How did you survive?” asks a young British volunteer of a refugee in the migrant camp that sprang up out of the mud like a small city near Calais. “We didn’t,” comes the reply. “We are different now.”
The migrant camp known as the Jungle housed thousands of refugees and hundreds of unaccompanied minors from 2015 until it was bulldozed in late 2016. The journey to Calais was always a long and difficult one for everyone who came, and there were many kinds of death along the way. Yet these living ghosts are vibrant and vivid, full of life and resilience in this teeming play written by Joe Murphy and Joe Robertson, the founders of Good Chance, a theatre company that sprang up in the camp alongside the shops, the school and the Afghan restaurant run by Salar (Ben Turner). The late AA Gill paid a visit and reviewed it favourably.
Miriam Buether’s design places the audience in the restaurant, a ramshackle place of plywood tables, ill-matching chairs and benches, and a patchwork roof fashioned from flimsy material. Bread is handed around: even amid the arguments and disagreements, the struggle to survive from day to day, the hopes raised and dashed over and over, there is always bread and hospitality.