BRATTLEBORO — A special film produced by Sandglass Theater of Putney will premiere at The Sanctuary at Epsilon Spires.
On July 31, at 8:15 p.m. at 190 Main St., Brattleboro, there will be a screening of "Babylon: Journeys of Refugees," with Somalian dishes by Jilib Jiblets in Burlington. Doors open at 7:30 p.m.
Sandglass Theater, working with U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, Vermont, set out to tell the tales of refugees, to seek to understand the challenges that refugees and asylum seekers face, to gain insight into their plight and the challenges of resettlement. Distilling stories of new Vermonters from Afghanistan, Bhutan, Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq and Somalia, "Babylon" looks at the relationship of refugees to their lost homelands and new hometowns, and the conflicts that exist within the countries to which they flee.
This action-packed, high energy production uses direct manipulation, full-bodied puppets and moving panoramic scrolls. Five actor-singer-puppeteers perform the refugees’ stories in original four-part choral songs.
On the process of bringing "Babylon" from stage to screen, Shoshana Bass, Sandglass’ co-artistic director, said, "Working without an audience was very different for the performers. Performing with puppets requires the partnership of an audience. The puppeteer supports the puppet in its world, but it is the audience's engagement that gives the puppet's life meaning and content. The absence of that in a filming process requires a different use of energy from the performers."
More information is available at sandglasstheater.org.
In continuing Epsilon Spires’ tradition of pairing film events with complementary food offerings, the premiere will be catered by Jilib Jiblets, owned and operated by Said Bulle. Musician, recording artist and founder of the hip hop band A2VT, Bulle is himself a refugee, relocating to Vermont from Jilib, Somalia in 2005 at the age of 15, after spending three years in a refugee camp.
“My best memories of my mom are cooking with her in her restaurant in Somalia when I was 8 or 9 years old,” Bulle said. “I discovered in Vermont that cooking the foods we both loved makes me feel connected to her.”
Bulle is excited to travel south for the premiere. “I drove a taxi for five years and have been to Brattleboro,” he said, “but never to be part of a cultural event. I am very happy to be bringing my food to you.”
On the menu are fried chicken, vegetable or beef sambusa with spicy dipping sauce, two different goat stews with traditional salad and banana sides. Prices range from $2 to $10. Bulle’s daughter will offer cookies and lemonade by donation.
Tickets are $14, available at the door and from Epsilon Spires, with seating spread out across all three levels of the Sanctuary. For advance purchase, visit epsilonspires.org.