Past Event

Apr 19—29, 2017

17 Border Crossings


“Dazzling! Phillips is a fluid, shifting storyteller, something of a conjuror. Technically brilliant, dizzyingly so. Each episode is beautifully rendered, an act of transportation.”

— The Stage (UK)

Imaginary lines. Real consequences. True border crossings.

The history of passports, smuggling Kentucky Fried Chicken into other countries and the peculiarities of airline security — it’s all covered in this dazzling and funny one-man saga that unpacks how the mundane details that govern global travel become the actual journey.

17 Border Crossings is a surreal sojourn that transports us to very real places: Hungary, Serbia, Morocco, Colombia, Holland and Mexico, to name a few. In the deft, mischievous manner of the trickster, Phillips manages to float huge questions that surround the fraught migrations of our era.

With all the childlike curiosity and adult skepticism of monologist Spalding Gray, and the theatrical wizardry of a Robert Lepage, Thaddeus Phillips takes audiences by the hand on a trip around the world and shows us that when we cross the imaginary lines that divide up the world, the real borders come to light.



Emerson Paramount Center
Jackie Liebergott Black Box Theatre
559 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02111


Apr 19, 2017 - Apr 29, 2017


90 minutes

Ages 13+


Audio Described Performance
Fri, Apr 28 8:00 pm


Created, designed and performed by:

Thaddeus Phillips

Directed by:

Tatiana Mallarino

Lighting Engineer:

David Todaro

Sound Design:

Robert Kaplowitz


“A very, very engaging performer”

“Very emotional…very humorous.”


“One sensorially ingenious piece of theater.”

WBUR: The Artery

“Ninety minutes of uninhibited creativity”

“The tagline for the ambitious ArtsEmerson calendar of events, “The World on Stage”, has never been truer than in the case of its current production, 17 Border Crossings.”

South Shore Blog Critic

“A great night of theater that should NOT BE MISSED…It’s like a trippy, animated movie, come to life.”

“If The Moth grew up to be theater, it would be 17 Border Crossings.”

— Boston Theater Examiner

“Gripping and convincing…a miracle of theatre craft.”

“A small masterpiece, literate, funny and blindingly observant.”

— The West Australian

“Phillips is a fluid, shifting storyteller, something of a conjuror. As a piece of performance it is technically brilliant, dizzyingly so. Each episode is beautifully rendered, an act of transportation; he is effortlessly multilingual, cursing with aplomb in Serbian, mumbling in Arabic, purring in French as he snaps on a latex glove.” ★★★★★

— The Stage

“Powerful, vivid storytelling…both enjoyable and enlightening.” ★★★★

— The Scotsman

“Witty, gently erudite and humane tales illustrate the absurd, haphazard nature of borders.” ★★★★

— The Times, London

“It’s a brilliant travelogue: pacey, funny and beguiling.” ★★★★

— The Fest