Instructions for a Border Crossing at the BT Studio, Oxford

In a world with an obsession with borders and walls; when we’re all fixated on who should police these boundaries and who should be on which side, it seems inevitable that artists will try to understand what’s going on. Daniel Bye is one such performance artist, keen to understand the role of the citizen in a world of borders and restrictions.

In a series of short vignettes, Bye tells the story of a young girl attempting to cross the border into her own country, and of a performance artist called Edward Shorter, who’s trying to find a way to help her and to stand up to the system. Bye encourages members of the audience to join him on stage to explore their hidden fears and the qualities they could use to resist authority, while playing a long game of Jenga (of course).

In turning the spotlight on the audience, Instructions for Border Crossing forces us to make a decision – are we showing up to the fight, trying to make a difference and break down walls? Or are we bystanders – swept up in a wave of ‘it couldn’t happen here’, or ‘it wouldn’t happen to me’, or ‘why should it be my problem’?

Anyone who has read my previous reviews will know how I normally hate audience participation, but this play has proved to be a notable exception. Although Instructions for Border Crossing is supposed to make us uncomfortable, Bye’s interactions with the audience are warm, and the Burton Taylor’s intimate setting creates the ideal atmosphere to deal with some really difficult questions about the world and about ourselves.    ★★★★☆    @BookingAround   29th September 2017