Sri Lanka, 1995. On an ordinary day, the sun is shining and sisters and brother, Lakshmi, Abi, Madhu and Ahilan, are walking, talking and laughing outside their village, enjoying themselves and living their life. A life that will soon be changed forever. A family torn away from everything they knew and loved. Brother, sister, mother, father - lives lost, home and possessions gone and a displacement we could not imagine, let alone endure for 15 years.
The Civil War in Sri Lanka interrupted the loving family of six and the life they were making for themselves. One day they are together, the next, separated. Gowrie, the devoted mother blindfolds herself when her son disappears from the family to fight with the Tamil. She can't bear not knowing where he is and makes it her mission to search for him, vowing not to take off the blindfold until her family are all together again - no matter how long, how far, or what she must endure to find him.
After Ahilan disappears, the family is split up. Father (Siva) and daughter (Lakshmi) are transported to live in Australia, not something they wanted to do, leaving their other family members behind but they did not have a choice. Siva was also blinded during a church bombing, a place that was supposed to be safe. Lakshmi, headstrong and determined. will not give up her vow to return one day to bring her family back to Australia for a much better life. Gowrie (mother) and her two other daughters (Abi & Madhu) stay to find their brother/son.
Their lives could not end up more different in the years to follow. One half of the family lives in a wartorn country, constantly moving from place to place, with only the possessions they can carry, forever looking out for danger at every turn, while life in Australia for Siva and Lakshmi provides them with safety and opportunity but an ever aching heart for their loved ones left behind.
This play is powerful, thought-provoking and the characters are portrayed with so much passion. You can feel their desperation and loss but also the love they have for each other. This is a must-see play. It runs for 3 hours with 2 intervals and is well worth it. The music and singing are beautiful and clever stage imagery.
Content Warnings:The Jungle and the Sea includes themes of war, trauma, sounds of artillery, the use of haze, loud sound effects and strobe lights.