Tom Cornford deposited Experiencing Nationlessness: Staging the Migrant Condition in Some Recent British Theatre on Humanities Commons 1 year, 11 months ago
This essay takes as its starting-point the post-2016 Refugee Crisis, which it considers to have been caused not so much by unmanageable migration as by excessive border control. It then uses Julia Kristeva’s figures of the ‘abject’ and ‘deject’ and Tim Ingold’s related conceptions of ‘containment’ and ‘exposure’ to explore some ways in which borders shape conceptions of nationhood and of identity. It goes on to explore Vicky Featherstone’s production of Zinnie Harris’ How to Hold Your Breath (Royal Court, 2015) and the Isango Ensemble’s A Man of Good Hope (Young Vic, 2016) as examples of representations of migrants and migration from a position of settled, white privilege. It then takes up the challenge of the chorus in A Man of Good Hope to ‘tell the other stories’ of the nationless, which it does partly by tracing the trajectories of easily-overlooked characters in A Man of Good Hope and then in dialogue with Zodwa Nyoni’s play Nine Lives (Leeds Studio, 2014). It finds in Nyoni’s play ways in which bounded conceptions of identity can be productively troubled by the figure of the migrant and identity thereby reframed not as the experience of containment within borders, but as a consequence of movement across them.