Depicting the Black African Refugee in The Jungle by Joe Murphy and Joe Robertson
This paper explores the depiction of black African refugees in The Jungle, a 2017 play by two young British playwrights, Joe Murphy and Joe Robertson. The Jungle is a theatrical recreation of the lives of refugees from the migrant camp in Calais, from which hundreds of refugees made – and still make – often fatal attempts to enter the UK through the Channel Tunnel. The graphic images of the squalid living conditions of its residents – many of them from Africa – dominated the news, as did the dramatic manner in which the camp was dismantled in 2016. This paper is interested in the textual gestures and representational decisions of the playwrights in the written play that provide clues to the possible ways in which black Africans are thought of and constructed in the minds of Europeans. In this way, this inquiry contributes to analysing literary engagements with contemporary African migration to Europe provided from European points of view.