I came out of the 34th St. Hudson Yard 7 train station into a hot and rainy Saturday in New York City, complaining to myself how I had to walk 10 minutes in this rain to the McKittrick hotel where Flight would be. I stupidly didn't have my umbrella so my clothes and Uggs were soaking wet. I felt like an idiot.
As I came into the building, I was taken into a dimly lit room. The atmosphere changed in a split second to spark a spooky and frightening feeling. I assumed I'd just blindly walked into a horror show. Not the happy, magical, uplifting English play that I had interpreted from the blurb on the show's website.
Turns out I was wrong both ways.
When I was taken to be seated I was placed in a booth, given some headphones and had to wait until a thin white line would vanish on a carousal like machine. When the white light reached its end, a scene of two Afghan brothers made out of clay figures appeared. My headphones played the dialogue between the two orphaned brothers, Arya and Kabir. They are talking about what they hope their lives in England will be like. The show reminded me of a graphic novel - I enjoyed the way the story was told more than the story itself.
The show revolves around Arya and Kabir trying to cross different borders to get to England to meet their uncle. I saw what immigrants go through when they try to illegally immigrate. I was uncomfortable to be honest, but I knew my discomfort was nothing compared to what they actually went through. I mean, people can treat immigrants like they are inferior beings. Sometimes, people either out right ignore them, harass them, or abuse them.
Kabir being the younger sibling was so so innocent. He showed such a great aspiration for life, but that was quickly tampered when Kabir got raped by a pedophile that he and Arya called "The Smiling Man." There was nothing the boys could do or else they would be sent back to Afghanistan. When the boys left the farm and reached Italy, Kabir wanted to steal a woman’s purse filled with money. Arya forbid it and Kabir was angry at his brother for the first time.
When the brothers reached France, the boys were caught by police, but the police were shaped into seagulls. The police didn’t speak, but squawked. It was difficult for the young brothers to try and figure out what was going on, but they were shoved into a police car and they wound up in Italy again. I was actually astonished that the story included this. I was rooting for the brothers. I wanted them to reach England and have their happy ever after.
By seeing the immigration process through the perspective of actual immigrants, it changed how I viewed them. It also changed how I dealt with things happening to me. When I was on my way to the show, I tried to convince my father to pick me up from the show, so I didn’t have to walk those ten measly minutes to the train and then have to deal with the hour long ride. Which could have been reduced to 30 minutes. My mother told me to leave my father alone as it was his only day off this week and that he was tired. I remember rolling my eyes at her. When I walked back those ten minutes, I remembered how the brothers had to walk miles and miles in deserts and forests, without food or rest for days on end. They would be smuggled in dark trucks - sometimes with animal carcasses. Even though I was re-drenched in the rain, I told myself not to complain. I was gonna come home to my hard-working, supportive, and loving parents, with a bunch of food in the fridge, more that enough clothes in my closest, and a warm bed.
Arya and Kabir had a life I wouldn't even wish on my worst enemy.
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