Sitting comfortably … in immigration control

A group of immigrants bid farewell to their native countries, all for various reasons, and embark on a journey to an unknown country. During their trip, each of them encounters a host of psychological and emotional side effects – from the exciting and hopeful to the intimidating and frustrating – that one experiences during the process of migration. 

While this story might sound as if it comes straight from a pamphlet published by Immigration Service, it’s actually the setting of Homo Immigrantis, the fifth and latest production from independent theatre group TeArt. As the title of the play suggests – or as anyone who has ever moved abroad can attest – immigration is more a process of evolving than a fixed event. And it’s this process that TeArt group invites audience members – both locals and those familiar with migration themselves – to embark on alongside the cast when the play premieres at Teater Huset this week.

As Evangelos Lalos, one of the play’s directors, explained, the idea for Homo Immigrantis was inspired by the desire to create a production about foreigners in Denmark. As TeArt is comprised solely of internationals from over ten countries across the globe, the group’s members drew from their own anecdotes and experiences in creating the production, and the play evolved from then on. 

“All of our members contributed to the process with ideas, texts and monologues,” Lalos tells InOut. “It is not really about being a foreigner in Denmark anymore, but about moving to a new place that could be anywhere.”

Divided into two narratives, the play follows ten immigrants as they embark on a flight to their new home, the ‘Promised Land’, with each of them undergoing a multitude of changes throughout the hour-long running time. While in flight, the passengers are introduced to the four stages of culture shock theory – honeymoon, negotiation, adjustment and mastery – through videos played on the in-flight entertainment system. 

After each video, the stage is grounded with an example played out in a scene from real life. The second narrative of the two finds the actors embodying their own national stereotypes in scenes that TeArt promises to be humorous and entertaining while simultaneously emotional and critical.

While the play proves particularly poignant for Copenhagen’s international community, the creators assure theatre-goers that it isn’t just for expats, immigrants or those who have ever lived abroad. As Lalos points out, the production is worthwhile for anyone with several cultural backgrounds, a foreign partner, or even those who feel foreign in their own culture. 

“Our slogan is: ‘nobody is a foreigner because everybody is a foreigner,” he said. “We believe that it is possible to feel alienated and go through the cultural shock process even when you move inside your own country, change jobs, change environment or simply feel that you don’t fit into society.” 

While TeArt hopes that Homo Immigrantis will offer something for everyone, ultimately, Lalos says, they hope that it will inspire compassion for the international community. 

“Ideally, it will make people more empathetic towards others that are going through this process,” he claims.  “Maybe it will help people to think that being an immigrant is not something negative – because after all, we are immigrants since the very beginning of our species.”

This is the fifth production from TeArt Theatre, an international group made up of members from over ten countries across the globe – all of whom moved to Denmark for studies, work or love. The group’s productions are always staged either in English, or without words to make both Danes and internationals welcome. 

TeArt Theatre Group presents Homo Immigrantis

Teater Huset, Rådhusstræde 13, Cph K; starts Thu (May 23), ends June 2, performances 19:00 on Thu (May 23), Fri, Sat, Sun, Thu, June 1 & 2; tickets: 50kr,;