March-April 2006

Edinburgh International Airport

From ‘The Passport’ by Mahmoud Darwish, translated by Saseen Kawzally

" They will not know it is me
In the colour-absorbing shadows
Of the passport. . .
The sky was filled with a scream of clouds;
Dear prophets
Don’t ask the trees for their names
Don’t ask the valleys who their mothers are
Don’t ask me the same question twice!
From my forehead splits the sword of light
And from my hand starts the river
In the hearts of all people is the nation
Go on, and strip me of my passport."

Roam was Grid Iron’s tenth anniversary production and its most ambitious to date. Set in the check-in desks, departure lounges, immigration areas and baggage carrousels of Edinburgh International Airport, Roam mused on the contemporary phenomenon of mass global air travel. In questioning what constructs our national identity, and our sense of home, it challenged global legal and political systems that seek to define the individual purely by which passport they carry or by their physical appearance.

The production was also a celebration of the (perhaps now fading) glamour of air travel, and the possibilities of human connection in the global village. Roam brought together Grid Iron’s most multinational company to date, embracing artists and non-professional performers from Lebanon, Chile, the Roma community, the Basque Country, Iraq, Venezuela, Zimbabwe, Fiji, Curacao, Hungary, Germany, Australia, Ireland, England and Scotland.

The production was the result of an initial workshop in February 05, a two week workshop in January 06 and an intensive five-week rehearsal period in March-April 06. The production was only made possible on this scale through the collaboration and co-production with the National Theatre of Scotland, under the artistic directorship of Vicky Featherstone.

Roam was in development since 1998 but gained its politicised content after the company’s work in the Middle East. In drawing upon the personal experiences of the company it harked back to techniques used in Gargantua (1998). Logistically it was the toughest challenge yet for the company and became the first full theatre production in the world to utilise both sides of the airside/landside boundary for performance.