Evros Walk Water

A Cage Re-Enactment

By Daniel Wetzel

The River Evros divides Greece from Turkey, forming a line of demarcation to the ‘fortress’ of Europe. Since 2012, when the passable section of the Evros was largely blocked off by a border fence, refugees have had no choice but to make the much costlier and more dangerous journey by boat from the Turkish coast to the islands in the Aegean.
In 1960 John Cage stood on the set of the television show “I’ve Got a Secret” in the middle of an obstacle course that featured items all somehow connected to the theme of water and waves, and all familiar to an American household back then – from a rubber duck to a piano. Its title: WATER WALK. Duration: Three Minutes.

In a small house in the centre of Athens live fifteen boys who have survived journeys on foot from Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, the journey by boat to Greece, and the brutal conditions of Greek detention camps. They currently attend school and are busy with their first girlfriends and computer games. They do not speak to each other about the traumas they have experienced.

In EVROS WALK WATER Daniel Wetzel (Rimini Protokoll) has collaborated with the boys in Athens to develop a stage set and audio drama in which a three-minute version of WATER WALK is performed six times. The original instruments and sounds have been replaced by the boys’ stories as they talk about their reasons for fleeing their home countries, their journey to Europe, and their daily life in Athens. In between, they play the three-minute concert six times – or rather, they have it played: because the boys are prevented by travel regulations from being present on stage, the audience takes their place, listens to their stories at individual audio stations where the instruments are also positioned, and then, following the boys’ instructions, performs the concert. Special headphones allow to clearly hear all sounds that are produced in the space as well. 

This stage production, then, is about the cooperation between audience and actors across a political, spatial, and temporal divide. The notion: “we would like to perform it for you, but because we are not allowed, you have to play it yourselves” turns the division into a productive one.

EVROS WALK WATER brings this group of teenage boys over here and has us create music in place of them and for them. John Cage’s playful and comic sound-fest allows access that does not aim for a shock effect, but creates a shared experience through the boys’ sounds instead. 


DRAMATURGY: Ioanna Valsamidou
ASSISTANTS: Konstantinos Kallivretakis, Ioanna Valsamidou
SET: Adrianos Zacharias, Magda Plevraki (Assistenz)
SOUND: Peter Breitenbach, Panos Tsagarakis (Assistenz)
LIGHT: Roger Stieger
CONSULTING: Fotis Parthenidis
PRODUCTION MANGEMENT: Änne-Marthe Kühn, Heidrun Schlegel (Rimini Apparat), Charlotte Streck

KOPRODUCTION: TAK Liechtenstein, Schloßmediale Werdenberg, Rimini Apparat
IN COLLABORATION WITH: Polyplanity Productions


Thanks to

Maria Chatzi
Chris Dell
Maria Kaldani
Menelaos Karamagiolis
Spiros Mamais
Yolanda Markopoulou
Panagiotis Papafragkos
Pigi Psimenou
Eleni Takou
Prodromos Tsinikoris
Ilias Fahidis
Naswan Farok
Sam & Zara