Saskatoon

Saskatoon play tells stories of women displaced by war, famine

A Saskatoon theatre production is exploring the stories of newcomers who fled dire circumstances to come to Canada.

Characters in Displaced immigrate to Canada from Ireland, Germany, Afghanistan

Displaced tells the stories of three immigrant women who flee war and famine by immigrating to Canada. (S.E. Grummett)

A new Saskatoon theatre production is exploring the stories of newcomers who fled dire circumstances to come to Canada.

Created by Natasha Martina and Sue Mythen, Displaced tells the stories of three immigrant women.

In the play, Mary escapes Ireland's Great Famine in 1847, Sofia leaves war-torn Germany in 1947, and Dara flees Afghanistan and Taliban rule in 2007.

The play, presented by Live Five Independent Theatre, follows the characters through the struggles and pains of adapting to unfamiliar customs in their new home of Canada.

And then there were 3

'Common threads come in, like isolation, discrimination and cultural identity,' said Displaced playwright Natasha Martina. (S.E. Grummett)
Martina said the play started as a piece about the Irish Great Famine and evolved.

"I thought, 'Well, why not open this story up a little bit further?'" she said.

"And then I thought, 'Well, if I'm going to go through two possible avenues of characters, why not bring it into the present day?'"

Martina's family has its own story of immigration to Canada.

Her mother moved from Switzerland, her father from Austria and her godparents from Germany.

She said she grew up feeling like a Canadian with two different cultures supporting her.

"I was brought up very much in a European family but with Canadian principles and roots, and so I love that about how I was brought up," said Martina.

Moving boxes help tell story

The characters in her play each have very different stories but she said the play uses movement to connect them.

The set is made up of moving boxes, used to create different locations and transport the audience to different places.

"You see sort of the common threads come in, like isolation, discrimination and cultural identity, having to adapt to unfamiliar customs as they come through this new land," she said.

Displaced runs at The Refinery at 609 Dufferin Ave. on Jan. 28 and 29, and from Feb. 2-5. Show times are at 8 p.m. from Thursday to Saturday and at 2 p.m. on Sunday.

It is directed by Martina and features performances by Jacqueline Block, Anna Mazurik and Emma Laishram.

With files from CBC Radio's Saskatchewan Weekend

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