• © Oscar Gonzalez

The Crossing


Heaal ten iaa mo silé mo cacsel vai dol-dol / Cacsel zeza ten taa caden sie ga / A iaa t-helia silé mo helia maa? / A iaa benai sibé mo donia mazze?


Somewhere across an unimaginable void, set apart from the rest of humanity, lies a world inhabited only by Queer people. A utopia for sure. But how long would it take for the storm clouds to gather even here? »The Crossing« is the story of how fault lines arise and drive a dissident back across the void to their former home in search of answers to painful questions. In a crumbling theatre in a future Berlin, a city struggling to find its feet again after a series of great upheavals, they stand before an audience. Our speaker once burned with zeal for their new home. But now, they find themselves cast out, unable to conform or stay silent. In brand new words, they tell us the story of their journey back home. Could a revolutionary Queer language be the place where we finally build a home? »The Crossing« is written and performed entirely in Damiá, a Queer language developed by Aslan since they were a teenager. 


Originally conceived as a live performance, the film adaptation was created after the 2022 premiere was canceled due to COVID. The film is available online for free for two weeks, from February 28 to March 13, 2023. The text will be translated into English and German with subtitles for the audience.


Since 2012, Queer performance collective ONCE WE WERE ISLANDSChris Gylee and Aslan — have worked in the fertile ground between disciplines, combining theatre, film, choreography and research. The two performers deploy (auto)biographical narrative as well as meticulous research on Queer life realities for their poetic works. Most recently at Ballhaus Ost they showed »Karelia. A Queer Forest Fantasy in Two Parts«. 


We appreciate donations to the artists.

Past Dates
  • Feb 28, 2023


75 minutes


Damiá with German and English subtitles

Direction, text, performance, design

Aslan, Chris Gylee


Ethan Allison Folk


Ethan Allison Folk, ONCE WE WERE ISLANDS

Light design

Elliott Cennetoglu

Sound design

Mars Dietz

German translation

Lea Martini

Outside Eye

Mmakgosi Kgabi

Surtitling Advice


A production by ONCE WE WERE ISLANDS in cooperation with Ballhaus Ost. Funded by Hauptstadtkulturfonds, with the kind support of Hiljaisuus / Silence Residency.