in the chaotic aftermath of 9/11, when people were seeing terrorists in every raindrop, one woman saw one on a vancouver bus. an arabesque man got on, smiled strangely, and then *something* happened. the driver got sick and passengers started vomiting and the whole thing looked like a terrorist attack - except, as far as anyone else could tell, nothing had happened. paranoia, racism, the politics of fear - all these brewed into a toxic mess.
this is where the toxic bus incident comes into play. the onelight theatre play is wrapping up this weekend - it picks up where the media left off, creating a fictional woman called helen and exploring her 'sickness' through the camera lens. it's a great play - check it out before it sinks beneath the waves.
here's my metro article on it, speaking with director shahin sayadi:
In the wave of paranoia that swept North America after the 9-11 terrorist attacks, a strange incident on a Vancouver bus sparked fear passengers had been poisoned.
The Toxic Bus Incident, Onelight Theatre’s new play, picks up where the media left off. Gary MacArthur’s play synthesizes the fallout into Helen, a woman convinced the dark-skinned man she saw on the bus released a poison. Her health is failing, but there’s no evidence of an attack.
Toxic Bus examines the media-saturated world that led Helen to expect such an attack.
“The issue is not just one person’s paranoia,” director Shahin Sayadi said yesterday. “The bigger question has become our perceptions of the news we receive and how we put that out back to society. We really didn’t want to wash it off and say this woman is paranoid and that’s it. Why shouldn’t she be paranoid? We’re not just saying it’s pure racism and that’s it.”
Whether the incident was external or internal is up to the viewer.
“I’m not a teacher, I’m a story teller. People make up their own minds,” Sayadi said.
i also reviewed it for culture corner: http://www.halifaxnewsnet.ca/index.cfm?sid=242725&sc=611
you can get tickets here: http://www.onelighttheatre.com/