RFS17 | Ice & Fire Theatre and The Glad Cafe present: Asylum Monologues

Ice & Fire Theatre and The Glad Cafe present: Asylum Monologues

On both June 22nd and 23rd, Ice & Fire Theatre presented a powerful reading of a piece known as Asylum Monologues at The Glad Café.

Ice & Fire Theatre has been sharing human rights stories through performance since 2006. They do much of their work through their network at Actors for Human Rights.

On the evening of the 22nd, actors Steven Ritchie, Kirstin Maclean and Gavin Wright’s three-man show opened to the general public at no cost. The performance on the second evening, the 23rd, was read by Steven Ritchie (read both evenings), Julia Taudevin and Andy Clark.

They were, however, accepting donations to raise funds for Glasgow’s Night Shelter. Phill Jones, the night shelter manager who attended both of the two performances, received the funds.  The group raised a total of over £100.

The two men and woman sat in a row on stage, each reading off of a script as they took turns sharing the stories. The trio took turns, each lasting about two to three minutes, to tell parts of their stories at a time. All three stories were taken from actual events and histories of actual asylum seekers and refugees who have each come to move to Glasgow as a direct result of events that have taken place throughout their lives.

One of the men shared a story about a man from Pakistan, who did not share his town’s passion for religion in every aspect of life. His asylum seeking status all began when he decided to move to London to study.

What struck me about this story was the fact that this person’s own father aided in the harassment of his son. His father gave several people his son’s number, approving of their intimidation techniques of expressing how London was a blasphemous city and threatening his life if he were to ever return. To this day, this person who has had to seek asylum in the U.K. still does not speak to his father as a direct result of this.

The story shared by the woman was about a young woman from Iran who was lucky enough to narrowly escape persecution for attending a political protest. The story shared by the third man was about an asylum seeker from Iraq.

They each discuss the long and difficult process to apply as a refugee or asylum seeker, with only one of these stories ending in legally recognised asylum status.

 

Another aspect of the show I found interesting was the different level of acceptance and quality of life found in the U.K. The stories the two men shared seemed mainly optimistic about the new life they have made for themselves, while the woman’s story was mainly sad as she often expressed how she missed both her previous home and life comparatively more so than the other stories. She missed her family and her culture too much to find herself at peace with spending the rest of her days here.

The one similarity all three stories shared, however, was the unanimous admiration for Glasgow and the people they have encountered here.

The show was simple and short, with a run-time of less than 45 minutes.

Overall, Asylum Monologues is absolutely a show to be seen. It encourages audiences to attend similar shows of equal significance and other art forms that are dedicated to expressing these important stories of the trials and tribulations of asylum seekers and refugees living among us in the U.K. 

Thanks to Bryce Mills 

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