Article by Priyanka Chandani published in Indulge, The New Indian Express
It has been over three years that the term refugee has become part of our regular conversations. With the political and border situations in a state of turmoil, the crisis of a huge number of people being displaced has hit every country. And Auroville-based theatre director Jill Navarre’s upcoming play A Place Called Home is a perfect tribute to the present state of refugees around the world. Written and directed by Jill, the play will have its premiere on December 26 at the ongoing week-long online Moradokmai International Theatre Festival(December 24-31).
Narrating the stories of refugees across continents, the 90-minute-long play dives into their political, religious, spiritual and financial crises that eventually tells the stories of their existential crises and how they are still struggling for a place that they could call home. “I wrote the play based on some horrible stories I heard from refugees and it touched me. I thought we all are refugees in one or the other way,” says Jill, the artistic director of The Auroville Theatre Group.
Looking from the perspective of a new beginning, Jill tells us that despite the theme of the play being heavy, they have tried to bring in some positivity and how being nowhere could also be a new start. “All the characters in the play are looking for something good and a kind place that can welcome them and where they are heard, understood or supported. But all of them are looking at their situations with some hope and positivity,” she explains. Jill further tells us that she, along with her eight artistes started rehearsing for the play last year and have been rehearsing three days a week since then. “We started rehearsing last year in January but then lockdown happened. We had 15 actors but then everyone left for their home and it was devastating,” she recalls.
Despite the break, Jill gathered herself and adapted to the new normal and is all set with her performance online this Sunday. “I hated the idea in the beginning but the show must go on and I thought this is the way I can do justice to my actors who worked really hard and were so hopeful,” she says and adds that the team has worked very hard despite staying miles away with limited resources. “Many of my actors lost their relatives and fell sick themselves but nothing could stop us. We have put together the performance with live music by Auroville musicians.”