Al Día: The Humor of Crossing International Borders

Phillips in 17 Border Crossings.

The Painted Bride Arts Center held its monthly Scratch Night — an event where artists showcase their work-in-progress to get feedback directly from the audience.

Thaddeus Phillips performs one of his monologues of 17 Border Crossings.
Thaddeus Phillips performed one of his monologues of 17 Border Crossings.

“We launched this kind of project in some schools, colleges, and a couple of venues, but it felt like it had all this extra potential that we never realized because we didn’t take it through a normal creative process,” said Thaddeus Phillips, author of the theatrical production to-be.

“17 Border Crossings” explores the idea of what artificial borderlines do to people in a humorous and theatrical play written, and starred by Phillips. The production explores real-life experiences concerning international border crossings, some of them lived personally by Phillips.

“Well what it was, was just basically these different crossings based on real experiences that were really improvised. It seemed like it was a cool thing to do. Maria back there, she designed the lights, but I never gave her more than two days to design the lights, and I didn’t have more than four days of rehearsal,” Phillips said.

Phillips played all the characters in his consecutive monologues — including the scenes that involved him speaking French and Spanish. The audience was particularly humored by his interpretations of eccentric accents from border officials of Singapore and Jordan.

Audience gives Phillips feedback on his production.
Audience gives Phillips feedback on his production.

The latest stages developments on “17 Border Crossings” were done over a two-week residency the author completed in Bogotá, Colombia. Some of the props used to enhance Phillips humorous remarks and interpretations were a show of lights, the use of an iPhone and iPad, and a live world radio.

Scratch Night is a free event held every first Monday at 7 p.m. at The Painted Bride Arts Center’s The LAB.

17 Border Crossings is a theatrical production in the works that has been presented on different venues across the world. 

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