Off-Broadway play 'Lost and Guided' tells the stories of Syrian refugees in the US

Writer/director Irene Kapustina took much of the play's dialogue from transcripts of interviews with Syrian refugees.
18:29 | 08/01/17

Coming up in the next {{countdown}} {{countdownlbl}}

Coming up next:



Skip to this video now

Now Playing:


Related Extras
Related Videos
Video Transcript
Transcript for Off-Broadway play 'Lost and Guided' tells the stories of Syrian refugees in the US
Hey guys on in the odds here in New York on the lower east side. In a theater called under saint mark's. And I want to tell you about an incredible new play that covered a lot of topics you've probably been reading about that we ABC news have been covering as well. It opens very soon and with me here is the writer and director of the plane lost and guide it. I mean Christina thank you so much for having us here think you for being here man honored here. Really appreciate that this is the home in which are going to be telling your story. A room. You're gonna give us a tour didn't just the second but for folks out there who are interstate in. This topic of lasting guided about refugees in America tell me about the plane what do people need to. So lusting guided is an original play based on interviews that I conducted. Syrian refugees here in the United States and the unique part about the play is that's 90% of the words and hopefully come from the actual transcript. That's. I and collected during interviews attorney about that why did you decide to do with this in the first place why these particular stories rate now. A bug this time last year I've been watching. News. And over while I was really overwhelmed with the way the refugee traces reached its pinnacle and part of my mission is a director and as a writers and artists is used theater to. Not only entertain but it's to build communities to educate and I was thinking vets. It was my responsibility as an artist as a citizen to do something about it and I decided to. Find a way to Kolb. The refugees. And people who were losing their homes and who were knocking on the world stores and were rejected. To help them advocate for themselves and I went out collected interviews and I felt that the best way to do it would be. Tomb. Make their words live on stage we have so many conversations around refugees are a lot of people talking about them. You actually traveled across the US. All over in New York you met with families who has recently arrived. The thought like for you what it with some of them at the stadium. The most striking England's. How hospitable than where it was amazing that people the lost homes were so welcoming. And they were for me the role model of what we should be doing to them. And that was the best part but a lot of them were really really excited to share their stories because by that time nobody ever spoke to them nobody. Actually asked them how was it what was the first day of war for EU. When did you decide to leave and what was the turning point for you Heidi is that few what did to take with you. And those little moments those light details that manifest themselves jury saying. The time of crisis that's what my interest laws because you know we talk about statistics don't like numbers and a lot of times we kind of to find the human details and put a human face in the crisis and that's that's that that was my reasoning behind intervened. Do you think people opened that TO this Ellis fascinates him. You can illustrate to them right and you show up they hang at like to your your entire life story. Why do you think they opened up dia. It was it's a huge responsibility and I think being aware of that's angst. Letting them know that I was aware of was very hopeful also. You know to add to that community is not easy as well so I'm super grateful to the grassroots organizations that help me get in touch with the families. And it introduced me to the families but more than anything I think of the interview didn't I tried. For the injury is not too quickly interviews it was more conversation and is more about it's what would you like. Me to know about you instead of meat wanting to know certain specific subjects so threw me the most important thing was to ask a question. Ball would you like to share with me what would you like the world to know and that was always my practice. To any conversation I'm here. For you to tell me what the world what would you like to tell the world about your experience and about yourself so that people. No that's her how what it means for you to during all the way across the world and respect so. Haven't they respond to them or whether they're septa. Yes and sometimes you know if if I didn't have a timer I could this. Sleep all over I am not joking they weren't a couple of offers unique Houston over isn't can signal I have about. Eat more interviews after this one and people just want people who really want to. And that's something that you wouldn't expect but do you really want to tell me in T tell about what Mott. Doris three kind of dimensions of my questions first was. Hollis Atlanta was before the wars I want to end of investigate indeed to Ohio delay changed what was the turning point and so. And a cultural context as well. So a lead us what was childhood like you know how vigilant for the war and none. What was Thursday. That he knew your life will never be the same. And indeed Joseph Hollis the morning how did get coffee taste that morning hollow. Did outside local one when you opened the window which just to see the first thing happened to your not down to this granular level and those are the diesel but. Magic to me months. And of course. It was details about how they were injured teen and boasted in first impressions of America lower. Whoever what out of their first destination Mars and of the journal of the renowned so mean it was. Meet Jimmy it's not. Big. It is not the big issue it's things that are higher around that date issue those at the details that. Comprise our lives because our lives meet small human details and that is what our please because we want to show the humanity of excuse in the only way to show the humanities to. Get down to those small just shows you are giving life to get details in this space. You show surrounds here. You transform me. Amidst. So on this marks is black box and that it look at it look at this this cozy until. Living room which are wonderful designer Leslie Cornwell. Helped us to transform and aid to yeah behind. Did this act is it's kind of an impression of the living program so we didn't wants to make it 100% real. It's a sit psychological space where you know it's almost like an impression we have their main character in the play in mind. Hugh is a doctor in who leave Syria before the war starts and gets kind of stuck here in the residency and witnesses. How his country and people he loves kind of crumble down he's watching all that from afar and you know so what's up messages answered communicating when them. So this is kind of what his impression of his memory of what their living room was for him. And so we have these magical little things Angela Ingraham so let's take a lock that's right just a little bit and we should point out that we we took our shoes off right on why they believe that EU you have to to pictures often in term because we have carpets and we have to care. I was told that they are secrets hiding behind the curtain so this clearly is not just the living room. Mean transform it into unit and field hospital in Syria. We transform it into an American hospital and Surat the play we see how this living room which is meant to four for the world for Syria for the country for people's hearts how it being torn apart. So basically some times. This Hopkins. And he's the something behind. And the curtains fault. What happens news this fees. And two beautiful closing. That is behind but you're transported to another place entirely and you've done an incredible amount in just this small space walk around here and if show me because wing on the small space like this everything it's intentional right. Right. Yes it is intentional. So we have these lapse that provides. And but all's right yet. There. Is. You know this is not exactly most in instinctively to the land but is also an impression of where the lamp was it worth noises of course. And Chiron and that is occupies a very important place and and in the characters' lives. We have very cozy chair and this is the center and hearts. Because that's where most conversations happen. And that's where I mean love to sit and interior accidents and how our space and this is kind of nipped nucleus of a of this world like so many families right regardless of your culture worry is that place it already is dead and we should point out in the plane itself you tell the stories four different people right and they're connected together so. So I'm mind or cousins and best friends and their doctors. So sides. At the beginning of the please leaves to. Of the State's thinking that she's just gonna go there for a year and come back and he uses FiOS behind. And Sonny his cousin stays with his sister. Became and they're staying in Syria kind of continuing their life. And as the plea progresses. Sign me re mind and I mean. Are faced with the reality of the war and in my is watching them across the ocean and kind of trying to knowing he can go about and this kind of dilemma that a lot of refugees have here it's kind of guilt but yet here and not knowing what's going to Hoffman's. And I mean in most cancer and open house on series. And I don't want to give away. I want it known and there are so many stories are so many details at regardless of your culture regardless of your story a lot of people can grab on to absolutely and I think the beauty of each character. In this play is that it shows a very specific and interesting journey that is different from everybody else's so we're witnessing different sides of the crisis. And it in in kind of the story human story. A lot of the action conversation takes place right here we're gonna sit down and experience it as the actors and actresses do and we're going to be joined. By one of those actresses. Whenever Miki is making her way over right. Now. And some kind of think he's in the yeah. Season charge this eleven and stay. Of this all the details are taking care that we do actually have tea and beautiful containers as well tell me how you came to be involved with this play what was it that you're you into the story. Well I auditioned for it then I mean that actually one of the other actresses put me in touch with. I mean. And that he. I got the script. And I verde and I knew that mountain 90% of the script was absolutely and you know. We're like untouched words from people and you mean the when I ever I remember specifically when I finish reading it it triggers such and as a strong emotional reaction because I knew that. This was not an imaginary this was real. And not you know not that his. I actually lit up even at the Benny begin and went but for the the biffle. The Y you know yeah as I could absolutely pictures of them have been no other lives that this is just reminded meals a little bit. Of the home I'm originally from Morocco its not this country it's not Africa. But you know a lot of Mediterranean countries share the same values the same way now. Waste to often just live your life he and Allen. And it may be triggered a lot and and I I can remember when I met I mean I was like I won this girl and get it it. Just want it's apparently the had you been following. If and you know Irene mentioned part of her inspiration came from just. All the coverage hearing all the stories and knowing that their individual stories we're being told that you've been following a lot of news to yes tiny I actually have been following it from the get go I think from even before it it happened in this area from from the Arab Spring. The very first stricker and Tunisia. Because. You know. It was something. It was like huge wave. So everyone was on edge and trying to see you know where they were hot so op it's the and that they can and it's the reason why am I want it to do this much it's because. I am it. Just tired. Seeing refugees aren't. Not she did not considered human beings at times either you know their either despised. Higher. People have pity on them and they don't want that Haiti. The human beings just like you and me and this could happen to anyone not save them from anything like that happening to. Stability is at. I'd think. Is something that people take for granted and we have to keep fighting it and read him privileges. Tell me about your care what which retailer I'll hurt her. She isn't ire rack. I think my character is you know. Everyone's mom she's young in. She adds she holds the fort. So everyone. Kind of like comes back here to the court to the center to always. The pre group with Haq. And I think despite her emotional journey she's a very strong woman. She has a lot of hope sunscreens and I think she gave up a lot but she will always. Take care of the others. Did you know reading that and it was the right person for this room did you know right away. Yes. Actually she reminded me of me. Lady who is coming from its. But the cancer and I was very striking actually. I miss them now but I think every amateur physically she reminded you eat and even then mannerisms. But. I think for any director. When you see at talented actor who comes. In this part of the Ehrlich okay. I know that it's great to have some deal like this he's so passionate and so dedicated to there'll be it is a few personal connections. And think it's so important so how much pressure do you feel I mean as you mentioned these are their real words these are real story c.s are not. Made up tales of so this is people behind the words that you're speaking do you feel. Pressure our responsibility. Because of the weight of those work. I think. The main challenge here it is to just. Dropping in into. The human side and not that character's side if that makes sense. A lot of times and misses a personal challenge with this specific character. She has such cervix emotional journey that when she's talking she stops mid sentence and it's my responsibility of filling the gap. You know Wayne. That's serves her and in in a way that actually. Can honor her you know. So we had to wait is the air but I don't. Lose sleep over it because high. Just try to you now. Be as organic as I can't and just isn't just the human being onstage. You know which is the whole purpose of this play right. Tell folks out there who may have been reading about. It's historic humanitarian crisis who know the label refugee that don't know details behind it what is it that you hope people will get. Out of something like yes. You know I really who acts the world com. Experiencing intense emotional journey it will experience. Fix that through ways people feel about losing their home but more than anything. They'll connect. To these people into their stories on their human level on their own terms. Andy will be able to identify with them. And it would be able to see themselves in them as well and C and me to ask themselves questions about what went. Health and if that happened to me how would that make me feel and what's put I want the world. To do if that happened to me I think these are very important questions we have to ask ourselves because the crisis is not over it will not be over. And that idea of displacement in people. Needy home people needing our help. We'll be there will be other for a very long time and I think it is our responsibility to ask these questions. Thank you so much for having us here are making good luck to you view the performance law and guide it. Opens Thursday. And it goes for the next how long several days for the next actually four weeks week. Jessica lots of opportunities. Our first previews August 3 opening night is August. We're closing August 27 and you can find all the information and the tickets on lost indicted dot com. Thanks for joining us now I'm on the you pack here.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

{"duration":"18:29","description":"Writer/director Irene Kapustina took much of the play's dialogue from transcripts of interviews with Syrian refugees.","mediaType":"default","section":"ABCNews/Entertainment","id":"48967441","title":"Off-Broadway play 'Lost and Guided' tells the stories of Syrian refugees in the US","url":"/Entertainment/video/off-broadway-play-lost-guided-tells-stories-syrian-48967441"}