Arrival: Stories, Mask and Movement runs March 22, 2 p.m. at the Greater Victoria Public Library central branch courtyard.

ARRIVAL STORIES UNMASKED

Arrival: Stories, Mask and Movement tells five true stories of Canadian immigrants from Egypt, Germany, Philippines, Japan and Mexico

It’s hard to convey the experience of stepping off a plane into a new culture for the first time.

The sights, smells and sounds of a foreign country can be jarring, but a new play and dance performance by the Inter-Cultural Association aims to do just that.

Arrival: Stories, Mask and Movement tells five true stories of Canadian immigrants from Egypt, Germany, Philippines, Japan and Mexico who have built new lives in Greater Victoria.

“Our hope was one story from each continent, we didn’t get one from Australia, but we got four out of five,” says Paulina Grainger, who produced the play through the Inter-Cultural Association.

The tales are wound together as a cohesive play, drifting back and forth between the comforts of home and the stunted Canadian politeness that can lead to a sense of isolation for many new immigrants.

“One of the big themes (between the writers) was how silent it was when they got here,” Grainger says. “It seemed to be a very hard thing for them to naturally connect to.”

One story explores the difficulty of finding work, while another takes a lighter look at the vast selection of tomatoes available at local grocers. Wrapped within the presentation are themes of spirituality, depression and the discovery of personal freedom.

“We want to break down any stereotypes you might have, and you actually get to meet these people,” Grainger says. “We can go on the soapbox and talk about all the stereotypes and racism we come across, but this is more of a celebratory story.”

Each writer’s words were retained as much as possible in the adaptation for stage by Barbara Poggemiller, a former Monday Magazine People’s Choice Award for Directing winner, and an instructor at the Canadian College of Performing Arts.

“Barbara did a fabulous job of finding the similarities and weaving all the stories together as a collective arch,” says Yasmine Naylor, one of five actors in Arrival. “We speak these words as if we’re storytellers.”

Masks and props were designed and made by Miles Lowry, whose sculptures, paintings, words and mixed media have been a mainstay of B.C. culture for the past 30 years.

Enrique Rivas provides the live music as a multi-talented musician with an impressive ability to ad-lib worldly sounds.

Grainger said early reception to the play has been overwhelmingly positive, with many audience members relating to the emotions of moving somewhere new.

“There’s a universality to the story,” she says. “Canada’s an immigrant country. Everyone’s family has been through these experiences if they live here. This play just reminds you that we could all go through it.”

Arrival: Stories, Mask and Movement runs Feb. 22, 2-3 p.m. at the GVPL Nellie McClung Branch; and March 22, 2 p.m. at the Greater Victoria Public Library central branch courtyard. Register online at gvpl.ca.

 

 

Just Posted

DANCING ANYONE? Museum puts a swing into your step

Royal BC Museum hosting its next adult-only Night Shift event, a swing dance/mixer

Getting OUT with Intrepid Theatre

OUTstages queer theatre festival features packed week of entertainment for fifth anniversary

Vic High theatre staging musical class struggle tale

Cry Baby a love story and social commentary piece presented with campy style

Readers Theatre returns to Congregation Emanu-El

Audience members encouraged to envision plays’ actions from hearing scripts

The Trojan Women and their ancient story coming to Phoenix Theatre

UVic theatre department to stage Euripedes’ Greek tragedy about the aftermath of war

VIDEO: RBCM’s Wonder Sunday brings fossils into focus

Every Sunday from 1 to 3 p.m. kids learn about science and history through interactive activities

B.C. animators land Oscar nominations

‘Animal Behaviour’ by Vancouver’s David Fine and Alison Snowden among several Canadians on the short list

Hollywood announces 2019 Oscar nominations

Netflix has scored its first best picture nomination, something the streaming giant has dearly sought

Reflections of Ladysmith: The Art of Michael Dean

Work, place and people are inseparable for Vancouver Island painter

‘Gotti’ leads Razzie nominations, Trump up for worst actor

The nominations were announced on Monday, Jan. 21 with some movies earning up to six nominations

Sidney Museum’s Lego Exhibition larger than ever

Hundreds of thousands of pieces on display in creations big and small, now through March 31

2019 Canadian Whisky Awards’ big winners announced

Awards held in conjunction with Victoria Whisky Festival

Netflix rejects request to remove Lac-Megantic images from ‘Bird Box’

At least two shows on Netflix’s Canadian platform briefly use actual footage of the 2013 tragedy

Most Read