Unpack

Written by:

Brishkay Ahmed

Artist/Creator(s) Identify As:

Person/People of Colour

Cast Size:
9

Roles For:

  • LGBTQ+: 3
  • Men: 4
  • People of Colour: 9
  • People with Disabilities: 1
  • Women: 9

Genre:

Drama

Themes:

Belonging
Community
Identity
Isolation

Length:

70 min.

Year Written:

2023

Synopsis:

Unpack is set in the days following the arrival of the Taliban inside Afghanistan when Sama – a twenty-year-old with a disappearing future, leaves Kabul and arrives in Canada. Within the hours of her settlement into her new home away from home, we see and hear Sama unpack life and survival methods with her two settlement workers, who seem to want to do the best for her. While present-day needs are in the hands of the two settlement works, Sama’s present hours are interrupted by the past and the future as souls who know of her experience and the souls she left behind create an unsettling settlement process.

Characters:

Sama (20) – A newly arrived refugee from Kabul, Afghanistan. She’s guilt-ridden because to leave, she had to lie to all those she loved.
Helen (50) – Pragmatic and no-nonsense settlement worker who must help Sama settle into her new home.
Jane (45) – Over caring settlement worker who believes every human deserves happiness – Even if searching for happiness brings pain.
Three Burqa Women – Three women respond to the settling process around Sama. They live inside the cabinets and respond through dance and movements.
Three Women (Sri Lankan, Sudanese, Syrian) These three also live inside Sama’s new apartment. They provide guidance and context on the settlement process. They are the old souls of the settlement process.

First Produced:

2022 as a one act play - Sama's Here There at the Or Festival.

Resources:

The play can be accessed by contacting the author at brishkayahmed@gmail.com or through the Canadian Play Outlet:

Unpack by Brishkay Ahmed

Notes:

Includes projection and dance.

Unpack was developed through support from the BC Arts Council in 2019 and the Canada Council for the Arts in 2022. This full-length play was first produced as a one-act play through the Or Festival in Vancouver in 2022. It has now evolved into a full-length play. It is also loosely based on Brishkay Ahmed’s CSA-nominated short documentary Fatima in Kabul.

Warnings:

Discussions of war and violence.