Sunday, September 11, 2011

magical night: Review of Shaun Tan’s Arrival

Just back from a magical night at Her Majesty’s Theatre, experiencing Shaun Tan’s The Arrival, put to music by composer Ben Walsh. A visual and auditory experience that over 1 hour 15 minute, engaged The Arrival, which is a wordless graphic novel of immigration, 128 pages that explore the displacement and unexpected grace of being in a new country.

I came away stunned by the ability to connect and story tell, without words. One hour and 15 with NO words.

I came away reminded of the importance of being invited to pause, forced to take the time to dwell, and in so doing to discover meaning.

I came away struck by the potential for all-age worship, kids aside, in front and behind, all transfixed.

Why can’t church be a wordless, intergenerational invitation to pause and ponder?

I came away reminded anew of the enormous courage required to migrate and the reliance of the generosity and time of the host culture. (No Taylor’s cried that I am aware of!) Tan’s father is a migrant from Asia. Now here in Australia we delight in Tan’s art and I can’t help wondering how many more Shaun Tan’s might be in the next load of migrants washing up on Australia’s shores.

Shaun Tan is an Australian treasure, a noted illustrators of picture books and young people’s literature. I’ve blogged before about discovering his book, Eric and the theology of hospitality buried in illustrations.

Posted by steve at 10:34 PM


  1. Have you seen the animated version of The Lost Thing?

    Stunningly beautiful and, rather than destroying my imagined world that I’d created around his book of the same name it re-invented my imagination and had me trying to open my eyes in order to try and notice those things that sit in the corner of our eyes that just… well… look “lost”

    Comment by darren — September 12, 2011 @ 11:17 am

  2. Glad you enjoyed the performance!
    Found your comments whilst searching for media reviews for Ben Walsh online. I do all my brother’s online updates and media, if you like what you saw you can follow other performances of his through here:


    Cheers, Fiona

    Comment by Fiona Ellis — September 13, 2011 @ 2:52 am

  3. Cheers Fiona. It was a wonderful night and your brother is a very gifted individual,

    Very happy to provide links to his website.


    Comment by steve — September 13, 2011 @ 1:11 pm

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