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Friday, April 12, 2024

Absurdist comedy focuses on the struggles of migrants

North Vancouver's Presentation House Theatre presents Sławomir Mrożek's The Emigrants from March 1-3.

Returning for a limited time after its sold-out run at this year’s Vancouver Fringe Festival and part of the 2023 STAND Festival, North Vancouver’s Presentation House Theatre and Blackout Art Society present the Exact Resemblance’s production of The Emigrants, an absurdist comedy by Polish playwright Sławomir Mrożek, translated by Henry Beissel.

The way The Emigrants combines comedy and tragedy is what attracted me to this text. Comedy helps sweeten the bitter pill of truth. – Cristiana Ripeanu

Directed by Cristiana Ripeanu, with performances by Jacob Machin and Akshaya Pattanayak, The Emigrants focuses on the struggles of migrants, tackling themes of uprootedness, disorientation, discrimination and the loss of personal dignity.

The story follows two characters living in a windowless basement in an unnamed democratic country, navigating challenges and grappling with their identities. One dreams of literary greatness, aspiring to write an incredible book, while the other yearns to return to his homeland with hard-earned savings for a better life for his family. On a transformative New Year’s Eve, they engage in a riveting battle of hopes and realities, grappling with the complexities and dilemmas many immigrants face.

“The way The Emigrants combines comedy and tragedy is what attracted me to this text. Comedy helps sweeten the bitter pill of truth,” says Ripeanu. “I regard humour as a tool of resistance in the face of adversity.”

The Emigrants plays at Presentation House Theatre from March 1-3. Visit phtheatre.org for tickets and information.

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