Sans Papiers

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[ Sans-Papiers ]
Ιnteractive performance in an old train wagon
“12 wagon festival”, theater “The train in Rouf”, 5/5/2010 -15/5/2010, Athens, Greece
Performed and designed by Odysseas Konstantinou, Ioanna Neophytou and Spyros Charalampopoulos.
Βased on texts of Matei Vișniec.
Photos : Kourakou Antigoni


The performance was inspired by the large hunger strike of 300 undocumented immigrants which spanned 44 days from January to March 2011, when the Faculty of Law in Athens city centre was occupied. This action was the biggest public manifestation of their demand for recognition and treatment of equality. Thousands of people annually migrate legally or illegally, by land or by sea, using various means of transportation to arrive to the Western world, as a chance to survive misery and war. Greece is a country at the outskirts of Europe and many immigrants use it as a transit country before reaching their final destination. Always considering that these issues are not easy to approach and that the issue of immigration raises lots of different reactions, we tried to address the matter to the public. In a small wagon whose capacity was limited to 6 people, we crammed as many people as we could along with us, making them accomplices to an illegal journey somewhere in Europe. Considering the theatre audience as illegal immigrants, the viewers had to deal with the humiliation provoked by this process as well as the loss of the sense of familiarity. The performance refuted the place and the private space as the performers moved through, above and under the audience, repealing the security and the feeling that “now I’m in my place”. Using the text of Matei Bisniek, we wished to trigger a reconsideration of the creation of nations, immigration and the social impact of these issues. Our aim was not just to raise awareness, but also to ridicule the way societies choose to define nations worldwide. Actions during the happening were autonomous and snapshots from the experiences of various people at the frontiers of nations.