Scott Humphrey from Oakland, California
OH MY GOSH, THERE AREN'T WORDS
While there aren't words to describe how I felt about the show, I'm going to do my best. Painful, beautiful, horrifying, amazing. I have never seen anything like it. I have never felt so completely immersed in a story. I've never seen anything so authentic on stage or screen.
Prev Dole from San Jose, California
Wow. What an incredible roller coaster ride of emotions. We laughed. We cried. We laughed some more. We cried again and again. If you want to know what being a refugee is like, this is a good place to start. Be prepared! The entirety of the play is an assault to your heart, soul and mind... in a heavy but profound way. I highly recommend this play and be prepared for the truth and unapologetic honest delivery of its content and subject matter. It was an unforgettable experience. If you are not moved in any way or your perspective on human rights and struggles are not at the very least challenged, then you have a stone heart.
Chloe from San Francisco, California
DEVASTATING AND REAL
I will remember this production for a long time. At points where we are simply listening to members of the cast - Safi, Okat - tell their stories, these actors hold the audience in such a profound silence you’d think you were in a vacuum. No one moves. It is staged in a way that conversations bloom out of the chaos of lots of people gathered under one roof in such a natural way, it’s as if we were there in the camp with them, hearing these conversations emerge for the first time. No action, save a handful of key high-drama moments, is artificially plumped with extra sound design, and there is little underscoring — but there is some fantastic live music. Clever use of real audio and video from the camp, real bullets sound from the video footage, a call to prayer is played from a phone fully integrated into the scenes. Excellent sound and lighting design. Very fast shifts from emotional highs to crushing lows and back. Your heart will break with them. It was a privilege to witness this.
Sarah from San Francisco, California
I absolutely reccommend this show, and after seeing it once I plan to go back with as many people as I can convince to go with me. The Jungle pulls off all the cliche things I usually despise in a performance: actors talking with the audience, water onstage, improv , etc. and they not only do these things decently they do them in a way that really makes the play wonderful. I think it manages this partly because of the clear talent of the writers, driector, cast and especially, the set designers, but it also really, really makes a difference that both some of the cast and both writers really lived in the camp this play is based on. When I describe this play as "immersive" I'm not kidding. You are literally onstage with the performers the whole time, but in an organic rather than an akward way. I garuntee you will never see another play like this ever again. So beautiful, and funny, and moving. One warning: the seating varies wildly, wear something you can sit cross legged in.
Trask from San Francisco, California
A GUT-WRENCHING PERFORMANCE
I enjoyed the immersive experience and the camaraderie that developed between the cast and audience. It helped to emphasize the suffering and dreams of refugees not only in Calais but worldwide. I was confused by the role of the British do-gooders. Did we need them to interpret the action for us? This tool may have worked in London, but many of the English cultural references were lost on an American audience. Nevertheless, the actors portraying refugees were outstanding. An electric and moving evening in the Curran.
Theater fan from San Francisco, California
IMPORTANT AND THOUGHT PROVOKING
As with few other plays, my overall reaction is to be grateful. I appreciate the attention paid to this story, the energetic acting, and bold set. Perhaps necessarily given available sources, the script created more complex characters for the social workers and NGO activists than for the actual refugees. Mostly I wanted more about how the “Jungle” grew and functioned as a community and culture all its own. Instead the play essentially and deliberately dramatizes the chronology of main events that were all covered in the press. Nevertheless kudos to the playwrights, actors, and theater for staging this. Also a simple request to the audience to respect the no photo policy — At our performance someone in the very front row pulled out her phone and noisily “clicked” a shot during a quiet scene. Sigh.
James Hathaway from San Francisco, California
A MISSED OPPORTUNITY?
For those unfamiliar, the play no doubt offers an important wake up call. But for others, it may seem a missed opportunity to explore at least two critical questions. First, how did “the jungle“ evolve as a cross-cultural space united by little more than shared desperation and determination to reach the UK? Second, and most important, what really were the stories, the motivations, of those who having managed to reach Europe after normally horrific and perilous journeys, nonetheless persist in their quest to get to the UK, rather than settling for life in continental Europe? The failure really to probe the personal and psychological journeys of the refugees themselves was sad, the other truths of this brave play notwithstanding.
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