Monday, July 14, 2008

About R. Cheran and a New Play About Black July

Twenty five years ago this month Sri Lanka burned and as a result of that fire the diaspora received countless new ticket holders. scrambling on to ships, planes, often with just their suitcases, some precious photographs, thalis, and dreams of grey and peaceful lands waiting for them and nightmares where torches burned away their past.

The poet Cheran has written a play "What If the Rain Falls" to be performed in Toronto on July 26th. He sent me some information from which I quote.


Twenty five years ago, this month, "Black July ‘83” resulted in the killing of 3000 Tamils and large scale destruction of their properties. Thousands fled as refugees. A significant number of Tamils sought refuge in Canada. Tamils all over the world commemorate Black July, this month. As part of a month-long commemoration in Canada organized by the Canadian Tamil Congress, Asylum Theatre Group of Toronto performs a play, “WHAT IF THE RAIN FAILS” in Toronto on July 26, 2008.
Written by popular Tamil poet Cheran, the play is set against the backdrop of a refugee hearing in Canada. The play weaves personal testimonies, poetry and dance in narrating a heart-wrenching story of loss and survival. The central character is performed by K. Rasarathnam, an actual survivor of Black July.
Venue: Young Centre for the Performing Arts
Tank House Theatre - Historic Distillery District Sat July 26 2008 at 1:00, 4:00, and 6:00 PMReservations not Required
Tickets ($5) available at Young Centre Box Office:;
(416) 866-8666; or Canadian Tamil Congress office: (416) 240-0078

Director: Dushy Gnanapragasam
Dushy Gnanapragasam received his initiation into live theatre in Sri Lanka. He has been an actor with various Tamil Canadian community theatre groups for over 10 years. For the last five years he has been a director at Manaveli Performing Arts Group's Annual Festival of Theatre and Dance. His directorial ventures include Harold Pinter's New World Order, Mario Fratti's The Satraps, Ivan Turgenev's Broke, and Murray Schisgal's The Pushcart Peddlers.

Playwright: Cheran
Cheran has published seven anthologies of poetry in Tamil. His plays have been performed in Sri Lanka, Canada, the UK and France. His poems have been translated into English, German, Swedish, Sinhala, Kannnada and Malayalam. He has performed poetry at various international writers’ festivals. He was the recipient of a writing award from the Banff Centre for Arts, Alberta. This is his first play in English. He is a professor at the University of Windsor, Ontario.

For more information on the play contact Dushy Gnanapragasam, (416) 995-2984 For information about the Black July commemoration, visit: