date: 21 March 2020, 18:00 | 22 March 2020, 16:00
time: 1 h 25 min
tickets: 60 PLN
playwright: Hannah Moscovitch, director: Christian Barry, songs by: Ben Caplan & Christian Barry, set design, lighting design: Louisa Adamson & Christian Barry, costumes: Carly Beamish, sound design: Jordan Palmer, sound operator: Rory Howson
cast: Ben Caplan (The Wanderer), Shaina Silver-Baird (Chaya / violin), Eric Da Costa (Chaim / woodwinds), Jamie Kronick (drumset), Graham Scott (keyboards and accordion)
producer: Marta Dzwonkowska
“Old Stock Canadians” are – in the colloquial metaphor used by the inhabitants of Maple Leaf Country – white, English-speaking Christians, descendants of families who settled many generations ago in today’s Canada (except francophone Quebec, where the saying is “Québécois pure laine” – pure wool Quebecois).
The term, seemingly neutral, was used by the then Prime Minister Stephen Harper a few years ago to distinguish “old Canadians” (implicitly “better”) from refugees who still have to deserve being Canadians and who (by implication) are too many. Well – the authors of “A Refugee Love Story” seem to tell us: Prime Minister Harper has blundered indeed, although he probably would not want to be accused of racism and xenophobia.
The story begins in 1908. A ship from Europe arrives at the port of Halifax, Nova Scotia. The passengers are Chaim and Chaya, teenagers from Romania, who fled to Canada from pogroms and poverty. At the immigration point, young Jews are put in a queue for the sick: he looks like he’s got typhus, she coughs, so – according to the officials – she must have caught tuberculosis.
Hannah Moscovitch, the playwright, is the great-great-granddaughter of Chaim and Chaya – people of flesh, blood and ambition, so we guess their story didn’t end badly. Yet this does not mean that you can take this klezmer hybrid of drama, a musical with Brecht-Waitsian songs and a provocative stand-up only as pure entertainment.
Especially in Poland. Do you remember one of the Polish political leaders saying that migrants carry germs? Shortly afterwards he won the elections.
Fot. Stoo Metz Photography