A graphic account of a newcomer’s life

Maria Dunbar
April 24th, 2015

This article is more than 8 years old.

Many internationals will able to relate to ‘The Arrival’, Teatret Rio Rose’s wordless adaptation of a graphic novel that follows a patriarch on his quest for a new home

If, upon arriving in Denmark, you felt isolated from the native population, this wordless story told through pictures might be the story for you.

Set to original music especially composed, Teatret Rio Rose’s performance is based on a graphic novel of the same name by Shaun Tan, the son of a Malaysian emigrant to Australia.

Tan, an Oscar winner for a short film he made in 2011, produces work the Sydney Morning Herald describes as both “banal and uncanny, familiar and strange, local and universal, reassuring and scary, intimate and remote, guttersnipe and sprezzatura”.

The patriarch of a family sets out to find a new home. He arrives in a fictional world that looks like America, a country with a long history of immigration. This world is nothing like the one he left – they use a language that could be hieroglyphics for all he knows and keep animals he’s never seen before as their pets.

The change is hard for our nameless protagonist. He needs to find a job, a place to live and a sense of belonging in his new home. On top of these challenges, he misses his family and doesn’t know when he’ll see them again. Fortunately, he finds others who were once in the same situation and can learn from them.
While the pictures have an old feel to them and the story is rather simple, the feelings it evokes are recognisable to some degree by anyone who has moved across borders.

Ongoing, ends May 23, most performances at 20:00; Teatret ved Sorte Hest, Vesterbrogade 150, Cph V; tickets 135kr; billetten.dk


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