New York | 1h 20m | Already closed


From 15 critic and 11 member reviews
Members say: Great acting, Great writing, Thought-provoking, Absorbing, Relevant

About the show

Inspired by encounters with refugees, 'Borders' is an urgent, moving, and sometimes comic commentary on one of the great crises of our time. More…

Through two alternating monologues, 'Borders' tells the stories of a British press photographer and a Syrian graffiti artist, whose paths cross in tragic circumstances.  

Exeunt Magazine

"Avital Lvova is singular in her ability to take the beautiful poetry of Naylor’s text and deliver it effortlessly...Lvova is athletic, gripping, and her performance is doubtlessly the highlight of the play...'Borders' is co-directed ingeniously by Michael Cabot and Louise Skaaning, who make great use of the barebones set to transport us from bus to basement to prison to art gallery to boat...We are ushered through Naylor’s text thanks to elegant transitions and brilliant performances." Full Review

Theater Life

"Written in breathless, staccato, pulp fiction-style sentences filled with vividly carved verbal images…For all the play's hearts-in-the-right-place depiction of Syrian suffering, it fails to go much beyond the depiction of the struggle of two artists to remain true to their convictions, with the Middle East crisis a conveniently dramatic background to their respective dilemmas…Which is not to deny its onstage dramatic power…'Borders' is knife sharp, bullet fast, and edgily funny." Full Review

Daily Beast

“Directed with lean briskness...We rarely see the moral courage we are encouraged to think lies within Simon that has become extinguished. The same quality in the nameless young woman is never in doubt...It is her character...that is the most resonant. Through her, rather than the comical Simon, Naylor’s message is simple, emphatic, and angry: These are people. These are people we have a responsibility to help. Yet do we recognize that? Do we do anything about it?" Full Review

The Barefoot Review

for a previous production "This play is divided into two perspectives...Conflict allows the playwright to editorialise, so to speak, on the state of modern media, on the loss of true news coverage and journalistic integrity to the endless, slavish reportage of celebrity gossip. It is another great cultural casualty of our times and Naylor nails it...The audience is wondering if and how these worlds may intersect. Well, intersect they do and it is a magnificent and spectacular climax." Full Review

The Reviews Hub

for a previous production "The parallel monologues of the two characters paint out their lives...Lvova invests her character with burning intensity; if there are more powerful performances on the Fringe this year, they must be few in number. As the paths of these contrasting characters begin to converge with a doomed inevitability, the play racks up the tension in the audience, building up to a powerful denouement stunning in its impact." Full Review

Fringe Review (UK)

for a previous production "A beautifully articulated piece of theatre that moves heart and mind as it tells the story of a Syrian refugee from converging perspectives...A powerful narrative that is all the stronger for avoiding sentimentalism...Nameless’ tale has a clear narrative thread, ringing true and yet carrying a sense of multiple stories. Naylor’s language is elegant, spare, almost poetic...The bringing together of the two characters’ stories, like images becoming superimposed, seems natural, even inevitable." Full Review

INDAILY (Australia)

for a previous production "As the two characters’ lives move away from and back towards each other, the script shifts effortlessly between poetry, humour and nail-biting action. It’s superbly carried by Lvova and O’Mara, who deliver their roller-coaster monologues with an explosive energy that is utterly gripping...Pure, raw theatre that smashes through our mental borders and beckons us into a new world of understanding. Naylor has nailed it again." Full Review

Broadway Baby

for a previous production "Naylor's writing sees his characters weave in and around terror, love and rebellion. His ability to write such wholesome and human characters – as well as capturing the comedy and irony in our most real experiences – is so refreshing...'Borders' is sobering and powerful in the way it brings together human experience in these two tragic and gripping stories, pointing out that we have put up walls inside our minds and hearts, preventing us from empathising with others." Full Review

Australian Stage

for a previous production "We are witnessing two stories, each nothing to do with the other and yet surely knowing that at some point there would be contact. No spoilers here but the build up to the climax is a joy to behold with two actors showing us how it’s done. Sebastian is a clever character study...As for Nameless, her growing resolve, determination and courage grapples the audience and turns our attention away from Sebastian’s gloss to what we see and read when we peruse 'the immigrant problem.'" Full Review

The Stage (UK)

for a previous production "Deftly interweaving these two monologues, Naylor asks pertinent questions about the power of art, the responsibility of the artist, and the integrity of a society that only cares about refugees when Angelina Jolie tells it to...Their slowly converging stories are both compelling and convincingly rooted in gritty geopolitics...At times, one wishes he would take more formal risks...This is a form that has limits. And 'Borders' – excellent though it is – doesn’t push them very far." Full Review

The Independent (UK)

for a previous production "A two-hander, featuring a pair of characters in motion towards one another on both sides of the Mediterranean. Both are artists in their own way...Naylor's dialogue is crisp and evocative, and the non-existent set is so far stripped back that all the tools Cabot has to work with are his very talented actors, leading to a result which is pure and captivating. Even if moments occasionally swing close to cliché, Naylor’s name remains a mark of quality for those who like to see good political dr... Full Review

The London Evening Standard

for a previous production "As the story moves to the present day, Sebastian has returned to 'real' photography, joining a Mediterranean mission where he wants the shot that will renew his fame...Nameless, by now a pregnant refugee, is fleeing for her life in an unseaworthy boat. Their two stories collide — but who is rescuing whom, from what?...Naylor interlaces the serious — and sometimes shocking — details of their histories with wry asides...Michael Cabot directs a gripping hour that races by." Full Review

The Wee Review

for a previous production "Their stories may be different, but Naylor connects the two different lives together through historical and cultural references that an audience may surely find relatable...Cabot’s staging and direction is simple yet effective, intensified by the use of just two stools as props...Yet another masterpiece from Naylor, exploring a difficult subject with remarkable poignancy. This is true stripped back theatre; one where performances, script and direction are justly able to shine." Full Review

Great acting, Great writing, Must see, Riveting, Resonant

See it if you like polished, meaningful performances; explorations of what it means to be an empowered person/artist in different parts of the world.

Don't see it if I do know ppl who wouldn’t appreciate Borders, but they happen to be psychopaths. Don’t go if a psychopath, or only interested in the West.

Also If you only see one serious, hard-hitting piece this year, make it thi... Read more Read less

Great acting, Great writing, Masterful, Must see, Resonant

See it if You want to see the best off-Broadway show of the year; you care about humanity; you love the theater for its own sake (no fancy set)

Don't see it if you don’t want your eyes and heart opened by the best acting and writing you’ll see this year

Also Two actors, alternating in the small space of the NY Theater Workshop ... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if you're interested in a relevant story about Syrian refugees with extremely powerful acting performances. Emotional and thought-provoking.

Don't see it if you don't like small, barebones productions or plays with heavy subject matter. This is not light entertainment and does require thinking.

Engrossing, Shattering, Relevant, Touching, Well-acted

See it if you want to understand (and FEEL) the horrors of war-torn Syria/the plight of refugees. 2 intertwined stories, one humorous, one harrowing.

Don't see it if you only like lite fare. Show is a gut punch. Occasionally, it's melodramatic. But go for solid acting/intelligent staging/griping story.

Also If you were lucky last spring, you saw playwright Naylor's Angel and E... Read more Read less

Powerful, Profound, Intense, Compelling writing, Relatable

See it if Two monologues that approach each other & deal with the responsibility of the artist. 70 gripping minutes coming to terms with human values.

Don't see it if Serious topics nicely if unsubtly handled, but won’t appeal to fans of comedy or stories that neatly resolve.

Absorbing, Great acting, Relevant, Intelligent, Thought-provoking

See it if shows about a strong woman in an area ravaged by war, issues of journalism - covering Hollywood people vs. real tragedies; Mr. Naylor's work

Don't see it if If you want elaborate staging & don't like solo shows (see below); if you saw Angel by Mr. Naylor and want something totally different

Also There are 2 actors but they are basically having 2 alternating solo sh... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if You want to understand the refugee crisis and journalism, on a persoal level.

Don't see it if It's a serious show. If you like theater to be fun and an escape from reality, avoid this one.

During previews
Great acting, Great writing, Masterful, Must see, Profound

See it if enjoy an expertly written drama about such a relevant topic and terrific acting. The topic of Syrian refugees is so beautifully explored.

Don't see it if You don't like shows that are monologues or only enjoy comedies. Otherwise​, no reason not to see it.

During previews
Clever, Edgy, Absorbing, Funny

See it if Bare bones production. Cleverly written mixing English humour with tough realistic account of life in Syria.

Don't see it if You need a set!

During previews
Absorbing, Entertaining, Great acting, Profound, Thought-provoking

See it if you enjoy high quality acting and interesting treatment of characters; thought provoking and emotional material, visceral content.

Don't see it if you are looking for a light entertainment; you don't care about the topic of suffering during war and natural disasters; you prefer musicals

Also See this show; it will grab you and take you on an emotional journey.

During previews
Thought-provoking, Masterful, Great acting, Great writing

See it if You love edgy, dramatic work - with excellently writting, direction and acting.

Don't see it if Your alternative is Wicked.

Cast & Creatives (6)