17 Border Crossings Analysis

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Take a moment to consider the idea of international travel. For some, there is an apprehension, a fear of the unknown. For others, it can be seen as the most tangible equivalent to freedom—A chance to escape the humdrum rhythm of ones every day life and step into a new culture or locale. In Thaddeus Phillips’ 17 Border Crossings, one is able to view international travel from both viewpoints while examining the ways in which the arbitrary distinctions between one place and another affect travelers and native residents alike. This production was made possible by Emerson College based presenting organization, ArtsEmerson. 17 Border Crossings is a piece directed by Tatiana Mallarino and which comes from Lucidity Suitcase International, a “theatrical…show more content…
With Phillips’ quick fire dialogue and extreme skill of storytelling, to the untrained viewer this play could be reduced to so much less than it is worth. The spectacle of the lighting design as well as one unforgettable Robert LaPage-esque moment with a coffee cup on a sideways table seem to be a little kitschy, at times. When these moments occurred, the audience would erupt with “oohs”, “ahhs” and “how did he do that?”’s. Although, theoretically, these spectacles made sense, it did not appear to add anything meaningful to the production. Phillips is one of those rare performers who would be pleasant to watch simply reading a telephone book, so it seems as if the themes and ideas would have carried just as well without this visual trickery. Thematically speaking, however, it is interesting to consider these transformations as reflections of the impermanence of objects—The same blue light used in a restroom in Amsterdam is the same blue light on the hood of a border patrol officer in America. This brings to mind the success of theme in this work, something alluded to but not outrightly expressed in Crossings. Themes of home, strangers, poverty, wealth, privilege, xenophobia, language barriers, and family were all explored in this work. This piece could be examined through the lens of any of these themes individually and have a compelling story to tell on its own, however, the combination of
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