we the same

Written by:

Sangeeta Wylie

Artist/Creator(s) Identify As:

Person/People of Colour

Cast Size:
6 to 23

Roles For:

  • Indigenous Peoples: 1
  • LGBTQ+: 1
  • Men: 11
  • People of Colour: 23
  • Women: 12

Genre:

Asian Canadian Theatre
Drama

Themes:

Communism
Culture
Displacement
Family
Forgiveness
Healing
History
Identity
Immigration
Intergenerational
Journey
Politics
Race
Reconciliation
Refugees
Relationships
Surrealism
Trauma
Vietnam

Length:

102 min.

Year Written:

2021

Synopsis:

1979Inspired by a true story, a mother and six young children are separated from their father as they flee post-war Communist Vietnam by boat. They endure pirate attacks, typhoons, shipwreck, starvation and more. Thirty-plus years later, the mother shares her story and secrets with her daughter for the first time. A intercultural journey through reality, fantasy, and the supernatural: humour, love, hope, and art forms (music, ritual dance, shadow play) balance a borderless tale of healing.  This Jessie-award-winning play was added to the curriculum at University of Victoria.
…dedicated to those who have ever felt othered

Characters:

Mai: 35, Viet-Canadian Woman, also 4-5 years old. Means plum/apricot in Sino-Vietnamese. Mai has been correcting her mother’s English since she was young. Though habitual, there is an element of belittling, and embarrassment.

Hà: 30, Vietnamese woman, in 1979. Ages: 60’s(present), 15(1965); Mai’s mother. Means: river/water. Though seemingly simple, Ha is clever, deliberately engaging in wordplay. Less educated, she seeks Mai’s approval.

Bao: 32, Vietnamese man, Hà’s husband. Jovial, outgoing. Means protection/security. May play Huynh, Smoking Man, Malaysian Officer

Kim: 24, Vietnamese female refugee. Kind, educated, outspoken. Means gold/metal. May play Chau, Linh, Bien, Tien

Biên: 30+, Vietnamese female refugee and prostitute. Cunning. Means frontier, May play Vietnamese Woman, Chau, Kim, Linh, Tien

Minor Characters: The following are minor roles that can be doubled up with other roles.

Châu: 24, Hà’s sister/Aunt Six. born in Vietnam. Means gem/pearl. May play Vietnamese Woman, Kim, Linh, Biên, Tien, Immigration Officer

Linh: 8, daughter of Hà and Bao. Means spirit/soul. Nurturing. May play Vietnamese Woman, Chau, Kim, Bien, Tien

Chinh: 7, son of Hà and Bao. Means correctness/righteousness. Feels like an outcast. May play Vietnamese Man, Biên’s Husband, Captain, Mr Long, Red Cross Agent

Mr. Long: 35, Vietnamese Man. Also 50 years old (1979) Textile factory owner. Means dragon, may play Vietnamese Man, Chinh, Bien’s Husband, Captain

Smoking Man: 30-ish but looks much older, he is hardened by life. H’Mong (ethnic minority). A poet and Viet Cong.

Huynh: 6, son of Hà and Bao. Means gold/yellow, May play Bao, Smoking Man, Malaysian Officer

Various: Vietnamese Man/Woman, Mother, Malaysian Guard, Tien, Biên’s Husband, Ma, Captain, Muslim Woman, Immigration Officer

Non-speaking: Old Malaysian Man, Danh, refugee woman at camp, refugee security, Hanh (2 year old daughter), Nien (1 year old son)

First Produced:

Nov 3 - 7, 2021, a Ruby Slippers Theatre Production, Presented by the Cultch, Vancouver.

Resources:

we the same can be purchased at the Canadian Play Outlet.

Notes:

Casting:

Vietnamese, Asian; Minimum Cast Size: 6
Musician -1 recommended

Cultural art forms e.g. shadow play, ritual dance, music; can be employed

Warnings:

Language, Implied sexual violence

Gallery: