Friday, September 30, 2011
"Take Me America" is a rock musical hailing from the Village Theater that follows the story of 7 refugees seeking asylum in the U.S and the immigration officials assigned to their cases.
Many modern musicals are known for their attempts at tackling challenging and controversial issues. It's why plays such as "Rent" and "The Producers" are so well-known. But who would have thought that a documentary on asylum law would be the inspiration for one of these pieces?
In case you don't know, "Well-Founded Fear" is a documentary that gives insight into the process of seeking asylum in the U.S. While I'm sure the directors/producers Shari Robertson and Michael Camerini expected that this piece would yield mixed reactions, I'm sure they never anticipated that its content would be used in musical theatre.
I have yet to see "Take Me America", so I'm afraid I can't really say whether the play is tasteful or offensive. That being said, I can't help but feel conflicted in my reaction to merely knowing this musical is out there. It is possible that this may be an effective means of bringing asylum troubles to the American public and making more people aware of the struggle for asylum and asylum law. However, this musical also has the potential to be insensitive, offensive, and highly accurate. Is it acceptable to find humor in someone else's persecution? And the fact is that many, if not the majority, of asylum seekers have been persecuted in some sense.
But we do need to bring the issue to the attention of the American public. And musical theater has worked in promoting other issues. Could it do the same for the issue of asylum as well?