March 13, 2019

The Migration Plays At McCarter Theatre

Continuing McCarter Theatre’s tradition of producing socially relevant work that engages with the central questions of our culture, McCarter has partnered with Princeton University’s Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies (PIIRS) on The Migration Plays, a new initiative focusing on the nature of migration, how it is represented culturally, and the ways in which it shapes the world around us. 

McCarter has commissioned five playwrights — Adam Gwon, Martyna Majok, Heather Raffo, Mfoniso Udofia, and Karen Zacarías — to write a series of short plays inspired by the research and programming of the PIIRS Migration Lab and its Mellon funded Sawyer Seminar, “Global Migration: The Humanities and Social Sciences in Dialogue.”  Since the spring of 2018, these five playwrights have engaged with the Migrations Lab by attending seminars and symposia, meeting with scholars, and exploring the Princeton campus to create pieces with unique and personal perspectives on migration.

The Migration Plays will be directed by Elena Araoz, a theatre/opera director currently engaged as a lecturer in theater at Princeton University.

A public reading of these five short plays will take place on Sunday, April 14 at 2 p.m. at McCarter’s Matthews Stage, followed by a panel discussion. This event will be free and open to the public, with reservations required.

About The Migration Plays, McCarter Artistic Director Emily Mann said “McCarter is immensely proud of its work with PIIRS and The Migration Lab. A play is an immediate encounter with the lives of others, something that is difficult to glean from a photo or a news article. The triumphs, the decisions, the difficulties faced in everyday life are things with which we can all relate, and when those aspects are placed directly in front of you by another human being on stage, that immediacy can spark a whole world of new discussions, compassion, and empathy.”

Immigration is a subject with which all five commissioned playwrights are intimately familiar, including Heather Raffo, who says “migration is a very personal subject to me. The idea of somebody starting in one home and ending up in another part of the world is something I’m very familiar with because I had over one hundred relatives living in Iraq at the start of the war in 2003 — I now have just two cousins left in the country. My family have fled as refugees and immigrants to places like New Zealand, Germany, Florida … so what it means to be a refugee and the many different roads that takes is something I am continually exploring.”

Professor of Comparative Literature, Cotsen Professor in the Humanities, and faculty head of the PIIRS Migration Lab Sandra Bermann added: “Migration is an immense issue for our generation, and the generation we are teaching. Migration is in many ways the human face of globalization, and our work attempts to bring our many campus disciplines together with the broader Princeton community to consider it more closely. When searching for collaborative partners, it was an easy decision to reach out to Emily Mann and the McCarter to partner on commissioning these plays. We look forward now to experiencing these works first hand.” 

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