New play remembers, and gives voice to, the experiences of Vietnamese refugees
When: Nov. 3-7
Where: Online at thecultch.com/event/we-the-same/
Tickets: from $29 at 604-251-1363
Imagine being boarded by pirates while making an already perilous journey with your family across an ocean. Now imagine it happening multiple times.
Between 1975 and 1995, almost 800,000 refugees left Vietnam by boat. They faced pirates, overcrowding, and storms. According to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, between 200,000 and 400,000 died at sea.
We the same was not born out of statistics, or Thai’s specific experience. Instead, the idea came to Sangeeta Wylie over dinner at a neighbour’s house in Victoria. Upon hearing the story of the Truong family’s flight to Canada, the playwright and actor knew she wanted to write about the plight of Vietnamese refugees.
She interviewed others about their experiences, collecting over 100 hours of interviews. Wylie also travelled to Vietnam and Malaysia.
“At first I thought it was an interesting story to hear,” Wylie said. But as she interviewed the Truong family about their experience she saw mother and daughter grow closer. “She hadn’t shared the whole story with her daughter. I watched the mother come into her own voice. That informed how I told the story.”