Editor/Publisher, Bina Sharif

Sunday, May 19, 2019


 In, "17 BORDER CROSSINGS" Thaddeus Phillips, performer/writer/traveller speaks many languages such as Spanish, French, Portuguese,Czech which is a great ability and a source of convenience while covering extensive travels in many parts of the world where all these languages come in handy.
Mr. Phillips is on an almost bare stage with the exception of a desk and a chair which he uses very effectively in different scenes and in different parts of the world, but the way the show is written, performed and directed, there is no hint of the purpose of his travels.
Are these pleasure trips? Is he a journalist? Travelling on behalf of a company who is paying all the expenses? I assumed that these trips must be holidays.
Also it is not clear if the character he created is travelling or Thaddeus, the writer himself is the traveller? And if this show is autobiographical I would be curious to find out what kind of job Mr.Phillips has in order to pay for all those travels but I guess that's not the point of the show.
Concentrating on the title of the show, the show seems like it's about borders and border crossings and that's where the show has a problem.In today's world when we think about or talk about borders some kind of difficult feelings of anxiety and terror crosses our mind and we pray for safe crossing.
At this time of our lives the talk of border security and it's imagined difficulties, to say the least, is a reason sometimes for us not to go to the difficult parts of the world, but this writer/performer is ambitious and every time there is a hint of any difficulty at the border he just avoids expressing it or even encountering it. He just moves on to the next venture.
After a while the show seems like a showcase for different languages which the writer/performer speaks and we find that interesting and admirable but we want to face the reality of the times and encounter some kind of difficulty entering all these troubled places.
Everything in this show is light and somewhat amusing. Trust me, we don't want
the traveller to go through hell, but we do need to learn a bit more about serious issues dealing with so many border crossings.
Towards the end of his travels when he arrives at Newark airport, he is confronted by homeland security about a stamp on his passport from Cuba. He is detained for 6 hours...and then nothing. We are unable to know how he was released ?
Throughout the show we travel with him but don't learn much about the places we travel to and how difficult it is to cross all those borders.
Lighting design here is brilliant and so are the sound effects. Thaddeus Phillips is also a decent performer but the problem is in the conception of the show.
It needs a sense of danger.
MIXED LEADING TOWARDS ORDINARY except sound, lights and the bare set.

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