As the storm comes in Noah sends his dove out to sea and remains at his post, as a harbour master on the Libya coast. He is a righteous man, trying to do the best thing in a corrupt world, and trying to keep his family safe and morally sound. It will rain for forty days and forty nights, but this storm is not about collecting animals and keeping them safe; this storm is "the world weeping" for the suffering of her children. Can Noah and his family steer a virtuous path through the crisis, or will they succumb?
There is war and suffering all over – tired, desperate, scared people pay guides to help them escape to hope and Europe. Politicians in Europe aim to limit immigration, while boatloads of people try to make the crossing. Caught between these forces, wishing to provide better for their families, Noah's own sons look toward a new opportunity. They want to help sneak people out of the harbour and into the Mediterranean. As the storm shows no sign of abating, the sons struggle find a suitable captain to steer the course to Europe… and must choose between money and morality.
The sparse scenery was well used; crates became harbour walls, beds, boats and drums. The refugees’ costumes work well too. Anonymous with their hoods up, they provide ethereal and evocative singing, but also take their turns with their hoods down to tell their stories. The time and focus given over to Noah and his family also does a brilliant job of humanising the middlemen, daring to examine their reasons for human trafficking; although the ringleaders are still portrayed as almost demons – harsh and uncaring – the internal struggle faced by Noah and his family is complex, and empathetically explored.
The scenes of the refugees being driven on their trek across the raining desert gave a human face to the stories and suffering, and the shades of grey of those involved in the trafficking gave food for thought. But while I loved the resetting of the biblical flood against the modern refugee crisis, the political caricatures felt very out of place. The swearing, whoring, actively vindictive characters in the European Parliament were two-dimensional, and veered too close to downright offensive stereotypes to be taken seriously. On their own the scenes would be justifiable as low political satire, but here they don't fit in with the well-considered and empathetic tone in other scenes of the play; and what is worse, people less aware of the suffering of the world's refugees might dismiss the whole play as exaggeration.
Outside those scenes however, this moving piece really gives the audience food for thought, with personal stories driving the refugees onward despite the danger. The biblical and classics references were well done, and for the most part it is an interesting idea that has been executed well.