Instructions for a Border Crossing

Daniel Bye’s Instructions for Border Crossing is a fascinating and in some ways remarkable piece of theatre.  At HOME as part of the Orbit Festival, this is a play about borders. Why does oppression increase the closer we approach a border?

Daniel sits at a desk opposite an empty chair to which he periodically invites an audience member, behind one of those stretchy barriers you queue through at passport control.  The show weaves two threads around the two-way flows through a border. First, a young woman leaves home for a war torn land, then returns as a refugee.  Second, he reconstructs work from an obscure performance artist who explored behaviour at borders.  It’s not important whether the artist existed, it’s enough that Daniel believes he did.

Delivery is deceptively benign, a method I have always valued. Sometimes we see more horror behind a cracked but calm facade than we do in anger. It’s as if he’s skimming over the surface but showing just enough to feel the injustice and contradictions. And yet there is something sinister beneath this show; he always knows much more than we do. Like border guards themselves, perhaps.

HOME, Manchester, part of Orbit.


Theatre lover, amateur director, occasional actor, writer.

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