We're Already Home

We're Already Home

a two-act play
written by Terry Jordan, Lorna Tureski and Arnie Hayashi
softcover ~ 96 pages ~ 6" x 9" ~ $18.00
ISBN 978-0-9881229-7-0
released fall 2014

ADD A DASH OF ISLAM, A PINCH OF CHRISTIANITY, A SPLASH OF INDIGENOUS MISCHIEF - AND WHAT DO YOU GET?

We're Already Home entertains and touches us as we experience the complexities of life when people from different cultural backgrounds live in close proximity to each other. From a starting point of tension and misunderstanding, the play takes us, with a dash of humour and a strong dose of the unexpected, to a place of friendship and empathy for others who are more similar to ourselves than we realize. The characters are delightfully engaging, including the curmudgeonly MS sufferer Roy who surveys the neighbourhood from his eyrie on the second floor of his house, newcomer Ali who collects jars of air from around the world, and Violet, the Okanagan elder/trickster who sees the beauty and the folly in all human endeavour.

Comments | Media attentionWhy read this book | Excerpt | Performance rightsConversation points | Meet the authors | Background to the Play | Funding Photo gallery Buying notes 

Comments

  • Kelley Jo Burke (playwright)
    With constant headlines trumpeting the harm inflicted on humans by other humans because of race, religion or the simple fear of the other transmuting into hate, We're Already Home is a tonic. Gifted writer Terry Jordan has acted as dramaturge for two new playwrights, Lorna Tureski and Arnie Hayashi of the Vernon Interfaith Bridging Project, and together they have created a sweet, straightforward play that any church, school or community could stage as a jumping off point for discussions about faith, culture and community.  
         By keeping its canvas small and familiar, the playwrights take a simple misunderstanding between neighboring families, one Christian, one newly arrived Muslim, and use it to turn We're Already Home into a cautionary fable for an entire country processing a steady influx of new Canadians. We're Already Home ultimately argues for empathy, patience, and above all, to quote another play,  The Philadelphia Story,  that "the time to make up your mind about people, is never."
  • John Lent (author)
    We're Already Home
     is a powerful, wonderfully constructed play, both hilarious and moving. An important work for these times in North American culture that celebrates the complexities, richness and challenges of diverse cultures trying to arrive at what "home" means in an everyday community initially fractured by misunderstanding. The play invents a human drama full of humor, tension and passion that reaches past itself to connect far into our larger society.
  • Shelley A. Leedahl , from her SPG Book Review - Read the full review 
    It takes so little time to read We’re Already Home, a two-act play that draws attention to both cultural differences and universal semblance between two neighbouring families—one Christian, one Muslim—but the play packs a lasting emotional punch...
    This play works on several levels. On the one hand it is a realistic representation of two Canadian families, each with a 17-year-old teenager, and how seemingly small matters—like a leaf and shoot-spreading chestnut tree—can irk one person and provide joy for another, but numerous well-placed metaphors and a sprightly “Senklip/Coyote trickster spirit” character, Violet, lift the story beyond realism and give it a multi-textured dynamic. 
  • Katherine Mortimer (Vernon Morning Star) 
    We're Already Home 
    is a beautiful story of two families - one Muslim and one Christian - who discover that their differences are not a barrier to friendship. I have been involved with the Interfaith Bridging Project in Vernon since the beginning and the play perfectly illustrates the project's mandate: to develop in-depth friendships and dialogue between inter-faith groups as well as rediscover ways that our different faiths can unite us and help us to overcome stereotypes.
         We're Already Home did all of that, but did it without proselytizing. Instead, with fine writing and gentle humour as well as solid performances from the actors who brought warmth and humanity to their roles, it showed us that we all share more than we may at first believe, regardless of our beliefs or the colour of our skin. 

Media attention 

For more background on the play:

Ad in the September 2015 issue of LRC (Literary Review of Canada):

Why read this play

Arnie Hayashi writes:
     I think the play illustrates what goes on in many multi-cultural neighbourhoods in many towns in North America. As a general rule, Canadians/North Americans do not reach out to their neighbours to get to know them or develop understanding. There is an unwritten and unspoken, misguided, belief or fear, that they will embarrass themselves or show their ignorance by saying something or doing something, that will cause the person of a different culture to be offended or insulted in some way. Better to remain silent and aloof even if it comes off as standoffish or high and mighty.    
     Thank God for the youth, who don't learn this societal faux pas, until they perceive themselves as having something to lose. Their curiousity leads them to delve further into what they don't understand. They ask questions. The younger generation has throughout the ages dragged their folks kicking and screaming into facing their biases, their racism and their ignorance.
     Our increasingly multicultural country needs this discussion. We need to realize, all cultures and faiths love their children, believe their religious philosophies have merit and that our underlying social values are worthy.
     Violet, from her unique perspective of a timeless, Aboriginal, spirit character, is able to poke fun and lighten the seriousness and allow us all to see how silly the games we allow ourselves to be drawn into are, and the often real consequences of our errant self righteousness.
     I believe the play has a place in the education of our youth and in forming a truly rich, multi-cultural, interfaith, national, identity. With the current media being filled with scary, negative images that promote hate, indifference and conflict, we need influences that counter those forces. We need to promote our similarities, our humanity, our compassion. If we work at it, we can get past ignorance and fear.

 

Excerpt

AISHA:     Sometimes the fear is first and the anger follows.

RUTH:      I thought Roy was going to explode. Ali, too. I'm not sure how we avoided an all-out nuclear melt down.

AISHA:     I think a Geiger counter would show some radiation has leaked into the atmosphere, though. 

RUTH:      To hell with the Geiger counter, what we need here is a giggle counter. There's been too much seriousness! You should really meet my friend at work, Annie. Now there's a lady who knows how to have a good time! 

AISHA:     Did you just say "to halal" with the Geiger counter? That's the funniest... 

RUTH:      Did I? I'm the mother of a teenager and the wife of an unhappy, retired postal worker. Anything is possible!

Performance Rights

For performance rights, contact alreadyhomeplay@gmail.com.

Conversation points

If you are a member of a book club, like to discuss what you read with family and friends, or enjoy interior dialogues with yourself, a few questions follow to get the conversational ball rolling.

  • Have you experienced a situation where you have misunderstood, or been misunderstood, because of mistaken cultural assumptions or lack of knowledge (e.g. Ruth not knowing that the Ahmed family has dietary restrictions because of their religion)? What was the result? What suggestions do you have for avoiding misunderstandings in future?
  • Do you know any families where a teenager has taken a romantic interest in a person of another race or religion, similar to Jacob and Sila? If yes, how did the situation unfold (e.g. regarding emotional responses, attitudes within the family and in the broader community, how challenges were addressed, what were the benefits, what was learned, what was the end result). If you don't personally know a family with similar circumstances, how do you imagine the situation might unfold regarding these points? 
  • How do you explain the differences in the way that Roy and Ruth react to their new neighbours?
  • Would people involved in cross-cultural relationships benefit from reading/seeing this play? In what ways?
  • Who was your favourite character in the play? Why?
  • What things surprised you in the play?
  • John Lent writes, "The play invents a human drama full of humor, tension and passion that reaches past itself to connect far into our larger society." What examples can you think of that illustrate how the play connects itself to our larger society?
  • In different ways the play touches on feelings of fear, lack of belonging, and insularity. In what ways are you able to relate to these feelings? What suggestions do you have for addressing these feelings, e.g. in order to promote feelings of courage, belonging and wanting to reach out to others?
  • In what ways did or didn't the ending make sense to you? 

Meet the authors 

Terry Jordan | Lorna Tureski | Arnie Hayashi

 

Author Terry Jordan is a Saskatchewan Book award winner and was nominated for the Commonwealth Book Prize. His stage plays have been produced in Canada, the U.S. and Ireland. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lorna Tureski was born in Hope, British Columbia and spent her early years just past Hell's Gate. Living amongst the Fraser Canyon's intense geography sparked her interest in exploring the fluidity with which one may travel between the practical and the sacred, reconciling the hot-breath intimacy of living and dying. Lorna is a member of the Baha'i community, devoted to the study and practice of what it means to be a world citizen. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia and has just completed her first novel.

 

 

 

 

Arnie Hayashi spent over twenty-five years working as an advocate of First Nations across Canada and was a key contributor in the design and negotiation of the First Nations Land Management Act. Arnie was a husband, father and grandfather who was on the national board the Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Temples of Canada. He passed away on October 4, 2015, in Vernon, BC. Read Arnie's obituary. Arnie will be deeply missed.

 

 

 

Background to the Play 

Arnie Hayashi | Lorna Tureski

Co-author Arnie Hayashi writes...

This play was born of an idea arising from the work of a largely volunteer, small town, committee made up of representatives from various faith communities including Muslims, Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus and Baha'is. The idea was at first very ambitious: Write a play involving many faiths with an underlying message promoting understanding and acceptance between faith groups as opposed to fear and ignorance.  
     The initiative began with many representatives from most of the faith groups represented on the committee and a few add-ons from the coordinator's social circle. By a stroke of luck and good fortune, Terry Jordan was at the time renting a house next to the project coordinator's house. He was approached and co-opted to play the role of dramaturge, tasked with molding this motley, inexperienced, enthusiastic, well-intentioned, intelligent group of men and women into a cohesive, productive crew of playwrights.
     After a month or two of weekly meetings, it became painfully obvious that the mission was impossible. No group this large and diverse and suffering from every form of human delusion and expectation could ever accomplish such a gigantic feat. The group was quickly whittled down to the three whose names are on the manuscript, and the playwrighting began in earnest.  
     A myriad of  storylines, thirty or more proposed characters later, and many conflicts between cultures and proposals later, the limitations of stage and space began to guide the creativity. Understanding the physical limits of stage, the freedom of playing to an audience's imagination, learning the art of taunting and baiting to achieve a desired response, our own philisophical limitations and what we lacked in knowledge requiring further research, consumed our time week to week. Could we have a totally fictious character who only the audience is aware of? How willing were we to possibly offend the audience with our racist dialogue?  All these things challenged us, frustrated us and titillated us for just over a year on a weekly basis.  
     It was like being married to a project…in sickness and in health…for richer or poorer…discussion… arguments…doubting…..celebrating great ideas and forward movement and Voila! There's Violet lying prone with that all knowing look.  Humanity has once again, against all odds, found a way to get along, to be good neighbours.

Co-author Lorna Tureski writes...

We're Already Home began with the Interfaith Bridging Project in Vernon, BC. This project is nestled under the umbrella of the Vernon and District Immigrant Services Society.   
     The purpose of the Interfaith Project is to develop in-depth friendships and dialogue between faith communities and to discover ways that our different faiths can unite us. Funding for activities was received from a provincial government initiative called Embrace BC. 
     The interfaith committee decided to wrap up two years of successful interfaith events with a play written collaboratively by as many faith groups as possible. The playwriting process began in January 2013 with a group of about ten people, from the Baha'i, Buddhist, Christian, First Nations, Muslim, and Sikh communities. 
     Under the guidance of dramaturge Terry Jordan, this group met for several months hashing out story lines, the plot, and writing scenes but it became clear that such a large working group wouldn't be able to complete the play within the government grant timeline--if ever-so the writing group was whittled down to Arnie, Terry and myself.
     There is a saying in the Baha'i community, that when a couple is thinking about getting married, a good way to get to know one another better, is to undertake a service project together, because inevitably, difficulties will arise that will take you out of your romantic bubble and you will faced with the true qualities of your future wife or husband. 
     This is also true of writing a play collaboratively. We worked on the script until December 2013, meeting once a week, emailing each other numerous times between meetings to clarify points, argue points and just to brainstorm. 
     
It's very challenging to have a blank piece of paper in front of you, with infinite possibilities, and it's an invigorating process, to say the least, to refine the story. Here's an excerpt from an email Terry sent out that illustrates how the play shifted:
Hey all, I forgot to say: there are 14 characters on your list right now, not all of them active, of course, but most, I think. We need to economize. Are the Johnsons necessary to the story? Do we need that twist? Does Ruth really need to find her daughter? If so, can the daughter be incorporated into the (later) story without the rest of the family? How do Jason and Ben relate, at school and outside of school?
     We went from a list of 14 characters to 7. We ditched the Johnsons, Jason became Jacob, we cut Ben, cut the school scenes and decided Ruth would have a son instead of a daughter and she would not have given him up for adoption at birth. 
     In the midst of all this, Arnie and I learned how to use a script-writing software program, called Celtx, so that all of our work could be more easily compiled into one massive document, which thankfully, was Terry's job!
     We had to take time off for broken hips and water pipes to be fixed, babies to be born, and colds and flus to be weathered. It takes a lot of energy to brainstorm, go home, write a scene, come back, and hash it over-all wonderful opportunities to work on courage and humility. And then do it all over-consult, agree upon another idea, go home, write a scene-maybe half a dozen or more emails back and forth to clarify the idea, then bring the scene to the group and hash it over, again This all takes determination and a lot of patience. 
     But as Abdu'l-Baha, one of my spiritual mentors said, "Where there is love, nothing is ever too much trouble, and there's always enough time." We realized that the play was not the most important thing (though it was important to finish it) but the most important thing was that we were getting to know one another, the Buddhist, the Baha'i and the Dramaturge, to accompany one another as we worked together to create something for our community. Our experience was like a microcosm of the goals of the Interfaith Bridging Project.
     We're grateful that we had the opportunity to work with each other, to move beyond any romantic notion of writing a play and to roll our sleeves up and create this baby, this labour of love and friendship, We're Already Home. Following the shooting at the war monument in Ottawa, a mosque in Cold Lake Alberta was vandalized and the words "Go home," spray-painted on its exterior. The community came together to erase the hate on the walls, replacing those divisive words with the unifying words, "You are home." This play, We're Already Home, is not perfect, but it is relevant to a larger conversation Canadians are having and need to have.  
     We're grateful to Terry Jordan for his knowledge and skill in bringing our little play to this launch day and for offering his artwork for the cover. We are grateful to Barbara Kahan of Wild Sage Press for all of her hard work, especially how generous she has been with her time and enthusiasm for We're Already Home and for her wholehearted enthusiasm in bringing Arnie and I into the Wild Sage Press fold.  

Funding

Publishing was made possible with the support of Creative Saskatchewan.

 

 

Thank you Creative Saskatchewan! 

Photo gallery 

The first two photos below are from the play's rehearsal; the third is of Okanagan Band members drumming on opening night. Photos are by Donna Phillips.

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photos below are of Regina launch (November 2, 2014, co-hosted by Regina Public Library, Connaught Branch, and Wild Sage Press). The launch included a dramatic reading of one of the scenes from We're Already Home. See more launch photos on the Events page

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

 

 

 

 

 


Photos below are of the Vernon BC launch (November 22, 2014 - 
co-sponsored by the Vernon Buddhist Temple and the Vernon Immigrant Services Society). A scene from the play was performed. Photos are by Dianne Hustler.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photos below are from event in Armstrong BC, where students did a reading from We're Already Home. See more details! On the left: The readers. On the right: The guest speaker and audience.

Wild Sage Highlights

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