New York City’s latest celebrity visitor is causing traffic to stop even in this busy, larger-than-life city.
Little Amal, a 12-foot puppet of a 10-year-old Syrian refugeeBig. is on a 17-day blitz from every corner of Apple It is expected to raise awareness of immigration as part of a theater project.
Amir Nizar Zuabi, artistic director, playwright and director of Little Amal Walk NYC, said, “When we talk about migration and refugees, we tend to forget that half of the people we’re talking about There are more children.” “The reality is they are kids and all kids are beautiful in their own special way. And I think that’s what Amal brings to the table.”
She will visit Mecca of tourists – times SquareGrand Central Station, the American Museum of Natural History and Central Park, among them – and also Manhattan’s dazzlingly distant communities, such as Corona in the Queens boroughs and Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn.
“The role of the project is to talk about displacement, talk about immigration, talk about vulnerability in different contexts and of course in each locality,” Zuby said.
At each of the 55 planned stops, organizers reach out to community artists and leaders to create a special event where the tour has been made. So Amal will join in with kids her age to listen to the reading of the inclusive picture book julian is a mermaid At the Brooklyn Public Library. And when she goes to Harlem she’ll hear a drum circle performed by students from the Harlem School of the Arts, along with a stilt walker from the Kotchenga Dance Company.
Yazmani Arboleda, a Colombian American artist who is the creative producer of the New York Tour, calls it one of the largest-scale theatrical experiences the city has ever created: “It’s the biggest stage on earth and it all comes from pluralism. . All the stories, of all the people who live here.”
The puppet arrives in the city after completing a 5,000-mile journey across EuropeFrom the Syrian-Turkish border to Manchester in the northwest England, She has traveled to 12 countries – including greeting refugees Ukraine stayed at a Polish train station and in refugee camps in Greece – and met with Pope Francis.
“New York is interesting because it is a city made up of displacement, forced migration and migration. These are the elements that built the city. And the city has grown and has a very interesting engine of creativity, innovation, audacity. So It is very interesting for us to bring this project here,” Zuby said.
Recently during rehearsals performing arts Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn, Zuabi, and the project’s co-creator balked at the original idea with its 10 puppeteers, four of whom needed to manipulate the puppet at any one time.
“She is a 10-year-old girl lost in the city. Whenever you are in doubt, go back to it,” he said, spreading them in a circle. “He is never safe in this city. If we figure that out, I think we can do real magic.”
Some other stops for puppetry – designed and built by the Handspring Puppet Company – include salsa dancing in Washington Heights, a walk along the Coney Island Boardwalk, and listening to drummers in Jackson Heights. At Grand Central Station on Thursday, she was struck by admiring pedestrians who took pictures with their gaze.
“We often focus on the plight of the immigrant or refugee, and I think what this work does is really bring our attention to the promise and the beauty,” Arboleda said. “As she moves through New York, we’re all learning together.”
One of Amal’s stops will be Liberty Island, where she will come face-to-face with the Statue of Liberty, which welcomes “a crowd yearning to breathe free”.
“The core of this project is empathy, fighting nostalgia, because nostalgia is like a stone. You can’t turn it. It’s what it is. The moment you start breaking the nostalgia, something happens,” Zuby said. .