Thoughts from the Composer, Michael Berman
I began to write “Where Will We Go” in Fall 2016. I was seeing graphic photographs of the suffering of Syrian refugees, while hearing rhetoric that seemed to blame them for the horrifying plight they are facing. As I thought about their struggle, I connected it in my mind with proposals to build walls and close borders. I felt angry and was looking for an outlet for my anger.
One morning I woke up the words “Where will I go when I’m a refugee” was in my head, along with a few notes. I imagined people in streets chanting these words, like the song “Give Peace a Chance” written by John Lennon. I thought about my own family history, about a great-grandmother who, when just sixteen years old, fled an abusive father to start a new live in America. I thought about so many friends, neighbors, and relatives who have had their lives disrupted, damaged, and even ended by our policies on our border with Mexico. And I also thought about our future in a world of rising seas, where much of our local coast will be under water in 50 or 100 years, creating new refugees who will need to look for a new home.
I have no easy solutions for the wars and politics that create refugees, but I believe that if we recognize our own faces and families in those forced to flee, rather than thinking of them as different or less than human, then we will have a start at creating a more just world. It’s my greatest hope that people singing this song can find renewed empathy and respect for refugees, and then take concrete steps to help them. Thank you for listening – it’s a great honor to have our students help perform this song. I dedicate it to all refugees and migrants everywhere in hope that they find peace and safety for themselves and for their children.
Creative Process for World Drama
This year, World Drama and Theatre studied plays and performance texts by non-western authors from Africa, Australia, Central America, Latin America, and the Middle East.
The theme for this semester was “Theatre as a call to action to inspire change.” Taking the class theme and the Syrian Refugee crisis into consideration, we read a series of monologues written by the refugees themselves. Our eyes were opened to the despair and plight of people who had to leave their beloved homes most likely forever. But within the darkness, in each monologue we read, hope shined through.
Moved and inspired, students set out to study refugees throughout history and around the globe. With Michael Berman’s beautiful song as our guide, students wrote their own monologues to give voices to the refugee plight.
Eye-Opening Data from the UN Refugee Agency
- Displacement is at an all-time, historical high.
- 65.3 million people from all around the world have been forced to leave their homes.
- 21.3 million are refugees.
- Half of the 21.3 million refugees are under the age of 18.
- 10 Million stateless people have been denied nationality and access to basic rights such as education, healthcare, employment, and freedom of movement.
- Nearly 34,000 people are displaced every day.
Kelly Rae Moody
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Monologues and Accompanying Video Material informed in part by the articles below