The majority of asylum seekers in Israel are detached from their kin, who either stayed in their country of origin or were dispersed to different locations across the globe. Of all the challenges and traumas related to migration, this rupture and disconnect between family members is a less discussed aspect of the phenomena. Funerals, birthdays, weddings and crises transpire while the individual refugee is without the ability to feel him or herself a part of the family unit. Working with Holot Theater Group, I heard many personal stories of refugees over the course of a year..
The hardship and pain were voiced in distinct ways by each of the group's members during this process. Some hadn’t seen the family they left behind for over a decade. Their lives in exile prevent them from sharing joys, hardships, holidays and ceremonies, even mundane events. In this joint work, we asked the audience to function as 'Stand-Ins' in the refugee group member's family photograph.
We staged the photo, building the frame around the missing family members. Those Standing In function as replacements, while signifying those absent. They represent a hope for reunion, and our joint well-intended, though futile, attempt to allow the refugees to experience, even for a brief moment, a feeling of wholeness.