Why Not Theatre’s latest creation and continued development of the Komagata Maru Project. A new “site-specific podcast” featuring the stories of the Sri Lankan Tamil refugees of the MV Sun Sea
No Entry was created out of interviews with Sri Lanakan Tamil’s fleeing their homeland to avoid persecution, torture and genocide. In August 2010, a boat called the MV Sun Sea carried some 400 Sri Lanakan Tamils to Canada. The boat’s arrival sparked heated debate with regards to Canada’s immigration policies. To this date the passengers are still being processed by the Canadian Boarder Service Agency and their refugee claims being investigated.
Prior to this incident, Sri Lankan Tamils protested in the Toronto streets the genocide happening in their country. Frustrated by being labeled as terrorist supporters, they stopped Toronto by taking over the Gardner Expressway, in hopes someone would listen to their story. This piece is an attempt to have those stories seen and heard.
Each audience member will be given an iPod, which features audio from a passengers from the MV Sun Sea and The Ocean Lady (a boat that arrived in 2009), as well as two Sri Lankan Canadians from Vancouver who help to settle and integrate the refugees. All provide perspective into why these people came here, how they are being treated now and what the Harper government is doing to keep them out.
This piece is part of Why Not Theatre’s longer exploration of the Komagata Maru, a Japanese Steam ship that carried 376 British Indians to Canada in 1914. The ship was turned away due to the governments desire to stop the “Brown invasion” and maintain Canada as a “white man’s country”. Inspired by the documentary by Ali Kazimi, Why Not looks to create a play that examines Canada’s changing relationship to India over the last 100 years as well as its relationship to immigration, refugees and its identity as a compassionate country.
Directed by Ravi Jain
Interviews by Sharada Eswar
Photos by Gobhi Theivendran
Special Thanks to:
Cara Eascott, Dan Bergeron, Manjula Selvarajah, Subramanium Selvarahjah, Nayani Thiyagarajah, Lenin Sivam, Malarvilly Varatharaja, Ariyan Janagan, Anu Yogeswaran, Lekha Rajkumar, Sahana Rajkumar, Kubes Nava, Sarena Parmar and the passengers of the MV Sun Sea and Ocean Lady who shared their stories.