Kasia Głowicka Adapts Refugee Messages Into Radio Play LILIAN for WARSAW AUTUMN Festival

LILIAN premieres Friday, September 18.

By: Sep. 10, 2020
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Kasia Głowicka Adapts Refugee Messages Into Radio Play LILIAN for WARSAW AUTUMN Festival Text messages from a refugee trapped in a notorious Libyan detention centre were the inspiration for a new radio play which premieres Friday, September 18 as part of the annual Warsaw Autumn cultural festival.

Based on a true story, Lilian is the debut radio play from award-winning composer Kasia Głowicka and draws on real events documented in a 350-page transcript of WhatsApp conversations between a European professor of human rights and a refugee in Libya.

Worlds apart in geography and culture, the two protagonists are brought together by technology. Their shared journey takes them through dark times punctuated by moments of humor before ultimately proving why hope should never be abandoned.

In early 2019, the European Union withdrew its rescue ships from the Mediterranean just as the civil war in Libya escalated. As Libya burned and the sea became too threatening, refugees found themselves stranded in makeshift detention centres.

Held in the infamous Zitan Detention Centre, from which the source messages were first sent, the young Tesfay obtains a phone number for a human rights professor in Europe and contacts her to appeal for assistance.

The eponymous Lilian does all that she can from her home in Brussels, but the bureaucratic process is slow. Her mind is also occupied with worries about her daughter, who is comatose in hospital and attached to a life-support machine.

"The refugee crisis is one of today's most critical issues, but the themes it presents are eternal and universal: hope, justice, human fraternity. Technology brings the characters together but their bond is completely human," says Głowicka.

"Creating my first-ever radio play was a challenge, especially because it's the first time anyone has adapted an archive of WhatsApp messages into a production. I also wanted to maintain authenticity, so I worked remotely with a voice actor in Africa to play Tesfay.

"Poland is a fitting location for this premiere. The play raises exactly the kind of social issues that the right-wing PiS (Prawo i Sprawiedliwość) government has been trying to censor. It's brave of the Warsaw Autumn Festival to present this play in such a climate."

Lilian will premiere simultaneously on Radio Kapitał and Radio Jesień, two independent Polish radio stations formed by breakaway national broadcasters, on Friday, September 18.

About Kasia Głowicka:

Kasia Głowicka is an award-winning composer who creates musical scores for film, television, opera and theatre.

Her commissions include the musical score of a major documentary series for Polish national television plus internationally-renowned institutions such as the Warsaw National Opera House, Holland Symfonia, and 'La Monnaie', Belgium's national opera house.

Głowicka has been a finalist in the Genesis Prize for Opera and the Edison Awards and has also received awards from the European Commission, the French Ministry of Culture, the Polish Ministry of Culture, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the International Society for Contemporary Music.

A graduate of the Wroclaw Academy of Music in her native Poland, she undertook postgraduate studies at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague, Netherlands before going on to complete a PhD in music at Queen's University Belfast in Northern Ireland.

Today she resides in The Hague, Netherlands with her husband and their two children, where she lectures International Creative Business students at the Inholland University of Applied Sciences.

About Warsaw Autumn:

First staged in 1956, Warsaw Autumn (Warszawska Jesień) is the largest contemporary music and culture festival in Poland. With its long heritage and global reputation, the festival frequently features premieres from international composers of note.

Warsaw Autumn is organised by the Polish Composers' Union as an international and non-profit festival with no government association. The festival program is determined by The Repertoire Committee, an independent body appointed by the board of the Polish Composers' Union.