How can you travel the world without having trouble with the custom house officers? What is your first memory you get when you step into another country?
Festco, the festival of the comedy expanded his area this year by opening with a very special and unique solo act – 17 BORDER CROSSINGS, one man show by Thaddeus Phillips, directed by Tatiana Mallarino. What is your first thought that comes into your mind when you read the title? That’ s right. I thought about illegal immigration as well. But that is a false impression, although there is a small part about that in the end, the story is about a common man travelling by train around the world and the moments that had to face the custom house officers.
I did not travel as much as he did, but the few five times I have been abroad, the first people you meet from a country are the custom house officers, which are involuntarily the visit cards of that country. Through them you get a first inherent impression of that country’s people and you may have a pleasant first impression or on the contrary. This is why 17 Border crossings can be taken as a social act of describing 17 different realities in 17 parts of the world, as well as a metaphor.As I am a declared lover of fantasy, I like to look at this show as a metaphor, especially that I was deeply touched by the ending, which I will not spoil in these written paragraphs.
From the technical point of view, the stage props are so creatively designed that it made me feel like I was watching a good American story, which I am sure that had a greater impact within the American audience since the main character it actually an American citizen. Apart from being a one man show, the story does not have a narrow vision as it depicts various unexpected matters during the train journey. The encounters with the custom house officers are so wildly funny interpreted by the skilful actor that you can fall off the chair with laughter. At the same time, I am pretty sure that at the moment that they occurred there was nothing funny about them. It takes talent and wisdom to turn an awkward, unpleasant moment into a delightful one for the ones watching. There is no easy way for the American tourist. Did you know that foreigners are called aliens in the US? So much cultural stuff I had learnt from this show and the most touching scene… come on I have to say it is the one with the Mexican, Pablo, who turned crossing the border into a lifestyle. He never succeeds, but failure does not stop him from trying again. The thought that one day he might succeed fuels him with the energy that his dream will one day come true. Pablo does not limit himself with the borders of fright and failure, he is a forever fight, a fighter for what he thinks it is right for him to do. He believes in his own justice, beyond any cultural borders, and that makes him a great lesson to learn.