Review Fix chats with Irene Kapustina writer and director of LOST AND GUIDED, who discusses the inspiration for the show and how she’d like it to affect audiences.
About LOST AND GUIDED: A riveting new drama based on interviews with Syrian refugees living in the US.
Written and directed by IRENE KAPUSTINA
Starring DOGA CELIK, SUSAN COHEN DESTEFANO, MISCHA IPP, ALEXANDRA KATTAN, MOUNA R’MIKI, SHAYAN SOBHIAN, and JARROD ZAYAS.
FOUR-WEEK LIMITED ENGAGEMENT: AUG 3 – 27, 2017
OPENING NIGHT IS SAT, AUG 5 AT 7:00PM
UNDER ST. MARKS
FOR TICKETS VISIT LOSTANDGUIDED.COM
Review Fix: What was the inspiration behind LOST AND GUIDED?
Irene Kapustina: LOST AND GUIDED emerged from a simple desire to give the refugee crisis a human face. It is a play about ordinary people, leading ordinary lives. Because it is quite ordinary for all of us to find ourselves in tragic and unfortunate circumstances.
Around this time last year, during the summer of 2016, I sat and watched news reports about millions of people being forced out of their homes and knocking on European and American doors. Syrian conflict is perhaps one of the most well documented thanks to smartphones and social media. I watched the horror narrated by civilians through Tweets, Facebook and WhatsApp messages and I could not understand what prevented the world from hearing and responding to those cries for help.
I knew that The Angle Project (my theatre company) and I had to do something, and that’s how the idea for a play based on refugee stories was born. Because I believe that in the world filled with violence on constant display the only way to rejuvenate desensitized consciousness of the public is by exercising humanity and compassion – and theatre is the best place for that.
Review Fix: What makes LOST AND GUIDED different or special?
Kapustina: The fact that 90% of the play are the actual words of the people I spoke with in person.
The play is their stories, literally.
When I began my research for LOST AND GUIDED, I travelled to Michigan, Tennessee, Maine, Illinois, and around New York City to collect stories from people forced to abandon their homes, their settled lives, and seek refuge thousands miles away. I spoke with refugees and asylum seekers from Somalia, Sudan, Myanmar, Syria, Iraq, Bhutan, Burundi, and Russia.
And although LOST AND GUIDED is a Syrian story, it is also a universal story. Dozens of interviews later it became clear to me that a book would not be enough to describe the life of one displaced individual. I also saw, however, that the processes of displacement and resettlement in different geographical locations had a lot in common. Thus, I was able to combine various life episodes into one cohesive narrative without having to alter much of the original text in the transcripts.
Review Fix: Who do you think will be affected by seeing LOST AND GUIDED the most?
Kapustina: Everyone, I hope! I am sure that people who are not indifferent to others and to the world we live in will enjoy the intensity of the human stories in LOST AND GUIDED. I also hope that the play will inspire activism in people who are alarmed about the now quite visible shift in the US (and the world) towards islamophobia, xenophobia, racism, and radicalism, and help them identify ways to make a difference.
Most importantly, I think the play will affect people who believe in none of the above. I hope that LOST AND GUIDED will be a chance for them to get acquainted with “the other side,” and will enable them to reflect on their beliefs critically.
Review Fix: How do you want it to be remembered?
Kapustina: I want to be remembered as a kind, caring, and honest person.
Review Fix: What’s next for you?
Kapustina: The LOST AND GUIDED story continues. The Angle Project (TAP), (https://theangleproject.wordpress.com/) my theatre company, will continue to seek opportunities to showcase the play and organize public forums centered around refugee issues. In addition, TAP’s focus is now on developing applied theatre projects and educational programming specifically tailored for young people. My big hope is to contribute to the upbringing of an affluent, responsible, and informed new generation of Americans.
Of course, there are ideas circulating for a new play, they always are!
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