A local theatre company is putting their own spin on a play that follows the journeys of two men who crossed the border into Manitoba on a chilly Christmas Eve.
In 2016, Razak Iyal and Seidu Mohammed crossed into Canada at the Pembina-Emerson Border Crossing. The blistery journey resulted in Iyal and Mohammed losing fingers to frostbite. Liam Zarrillo, along with Andraea Sartison and Caroline Wintoniw, created a documentary-style theatre play, premiering in May of 2018. Border Avenue follows the duo and fictional photographer Will.
"Both characters are on deeply unique journeys, both after vasty different things, and eventually come together and without being overly precious or cute, (and) just learn about the realities of that experience," Zarrillo says.
After a long time away from the stage, Director Dan Hall and Zarrillo decided to put on Boundary Avenue with Recycled Talent Productions. Instead of their usual grand productions, Recycled Talent Productions decided this time they would produce a radio play.
"This story is about community, about being welcomed into the community, about tensions inside of community. And so for us to create the story and develop the play fully working in community just made for a really rich process," Zarrillo says.
Putting on this play allowed the actors to have "big conversations" about the play.
"The conversations that we had around this, especially around racism, I found they were really good, honest, deep conversations," Hall says.
The duo says they made the play free for people to access, hoping to give them something to look forward to.
"We want to provide it to the community as a gift," Hall says. "It has been such a tough couple of years with COVID it seems, so we just want to gift this show to the community."
The show officially launches on December 10.