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Jason Dzubow on Political Asylum

New Musical About Asylum Seekers Opens in Washington State

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A new musical about asylum seekers and asylum adjudicators opens next week at the Village Theater in Issaquah, Washington.* The play, "Take Me America," chronicles the story of people from different countries applying for asylum in the U.S.* The show also addresses issues faced by adjudicators, "the people who bear the responsibility of determining*[the asylum seeker's]*fate."



Music and Refugees: A winning combination.



The Issaquah Press reports that the show distinguishes between asylum seekers and immigrants:


The director Jerry Dixon encouraged the "Take Me America" author and composer to shore up the differences between asylum and immigration to offer audiences more clarity.* "One of my first jobs was to get the authors to take away any ambiguous language or monetary language like, 'I'm coming to America to get ahead, to make a better living,'" Dixon said. "That's immigration. That's different. 'I'm coming to America because my arms will be hacked off by my government.' That's not immigration."


Bill Nabel, "Take Me America" author and lyricist, said "Well-Founded Fear" -- a 2000 documentary about the asylum process -- laid the foundation for the rock musical. The filmmakers recorded the last interviews of applicants in the asylum process for the piece.* "To me, a musical is about where you find your heart," Nabel said. "There's a very large part of that in the asylum question. Asylum is much more than a legal question to us. How do we make a human decision about a law?"


In light of the negative attention recently generated by the DSK housekeeper case, it's great to see asylum seekers-and asylum adjudicators-receiving some positive attention.* And if that attention is set to music, so much the better.


The show runs from September 14 to November 20, 2011.* For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the Village Theatre website, here.


Originally posted on the Asylumist: www.Asylumist.com.

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