Europeans, do not be alarmed if you see a giant girl walking through your city in the coming months. She is a puppet.
The puppet’s name is Little Amal, and she is the star of The Walk, the latest project from Good Chance Theatre. The British theatre group previously created the critically acclaimed play The Jungle, about a refugee encampment in France. Like the characters in The Jungle, Amal is also an immigrant, the only difference being that instead of a flesh and blood human she is an 11-foot puppet.
Amal’s journey does not take place in a theater, but rather on a literal trek from the Turkey-Syria border to the United Kingdom. Over the course of several months, Amal (and a team of people maneuvering her) will be stopping in 70 towns and cities along the way, presumably to teach residents about the plight of migrant children while also instilling a lifelong fear of puppetry in many actual children.
According to the website for the project, The Walk is under the helm of Palestinian playwright Amir Nizar Zuba as artistic director, and then several white British producers. Their promise, as stated on the website, is that The Walk will “bring together celebrated artists, major cultural institutions, community groups and humanitarian organisations to create one of the most innovative and adventurous public artworks ever attempted.”
If Amal can teach us anything, it is not the struggles of the many migrant children who have been displaced and separated from their families. It is that theatre troupes must be stopped. They have become too powerful, and are now bringing their grand ideas out of the black box and into the streets. Will anyone think of the children?