According to the UNHCR, that’s how many displaced people there are worldwide right now. The number is shocking, also too big to grasp. Rather than describing the experiences of fellow human beings, it quickly becomes an abstraction. Our national conversation is paralyzed – caught between overwhelming statistics of misery on one side, and nativist fear-mongering on the other. As the national attempt to respond to the crisis descends into acrimony and chaos, perhaps the only way to escape this paralysis is through stories that connect us to its human dimensions.
“Arden/Everywhere” re-imagines Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” as a story about refugees. It unlocks this beloved comedy’s deepest heartbeat to tell a distinctly contemporary story – one that looks into a world of dislocation and exile to discover resilience, reconciliation and love. Performed by a cast of professional actors alongside non-professionals from the refugee and immigrant community, it unleashes theater’s unique ability to awaken empathy, locating our common humanity in the face of a seemingly incomprehensible global catastrophe.