Socialist Worker

The Jungle play poses difficult questions

by Simon Shaw
Issue No. 2611

Nahel Tzegai (Helene) in an  earlier production of The Jungle

Nahel Tzegai (Helene) in an earlier production of The Jungle

Anyone who went on convoys to the “jungle” refugee camp in Calais will recognise the Afghan restaurant.

This is where writers Joe Murphy and Joe Robertson’s play The Jungle takes place.

From January 2015 to October 2016 the “jungle” camp was home to up to 8,000 refugees.

It was a testament to the human capacity to work together in the very worst conditions.

But being home to so many desperate, displaced and tired people, inevitably tensions were never far from the surface.

In the play 17 year old Okot from Sudan has emotional and physical scars.

And narrator Safi, a professor of English literature from Syria, is destined to end up wandering the streets of Leicester alone, denied the right to work.

The play poses many difficult questions. Are some of the volunteers going to Calais naive do-gooders?

Is Britain going to provide the solace denied by so many other states? Are people smugglers simply providing a service denied by nation states?

The play’s writers ran the Good Chance Theatre Company in the camp.

They point the finger of blame at the creation of the European Union’s Fortress Europe.

Go and see this amazing play and take others.

It will renew the urgency of the need to address the refugee crisis—and continue to boost the vital solidarity work.

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