Crossfire: One Who Wants To Cross @finborough
One Who Wants To Cross is having its UK premiere at the Finborough Theatre. It is a topical exploration of people on the move. There are no names or nationalities in the piece. After all, this is a story we only know about through statistics and angry news headlines.
By contrast, this story unfolds through the power of narration. The piece attempts to shed light on the ones who undertake informal or irregular migration, crossing borders by any means necessary. And the people and industries along the way helping them. For a price.
Irregular migration and small boat crossings conjure up the rhetoric about hostile environments and posturing about getting tough on illegal immigration. In 2018 there were 299 small boats detected crossing the Channel. By 2021 there were over 28,000, and the estimate for 2022 was 40,000. Either the current policy is a failure, or there is no interest in changing the status quo. And while a flight may be cheaper and safer, travel rules conspire to prevent people from seeking this route for asylum.
Part acted and partly narrated by Wisdom Iheoma, there’s an intensity in the piece as he addresses the audience, looking you directly in the eye as the character needs money, help and wherewithal to make the crossing.
There is a simple traverse staging, with a raised triangle that could be a boat or the divide between one land and the next.
The piece won multiple French awards and feels topical as it illuminates those complicit in the current status quo. If only we could be so brave on this side of the Channel.
Written by Marc-Emmanuel Soriano, translated by Amanda Gann and directed by Alice Hamilton, One Who Wants To Cross is at the Finborough Theatre until 25 February.
Photos by Ali Wright