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David Yee

David Yee is a Canadian actor and playwright. He was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, and he is the co-founding Artistic Director of Canada’s first professional Asian Canadian theatre company, fu-GEN Theatre Company. Yee is of mixed Chinese-Scottish ancestry, and focused on writing because of his cultural identity. He said that “’ I started writing because I wasn’t getting any roles with substance . . . All the good parts were very white and Eurocentric. Everyone else in the class could hope to play the major classical parts, but I could not. I wanted to create something for myself.” And so, he did. Yee’s plays, including Lady in the Red Dress, paper series, carried away on the crest of a wave, and Acquiesce, gives a voice to people of colour, both through the stories they tell, and the roles available. carried away on the crest of a wave won the Governor General’s Award for Drama in 2015. 

Works Cited

"David Yee." n.d. Factory Theatre.

"David Yee." 2019. The University of Toronto Mississauga.

Nothof, Anne. "Yee, David." 17 July 2020. The Canadian Theatre Encyclopedia.

Production History

carried away on the crest of a wave is a play written by David Yee, about the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, and how it rippled outwards, impacting people from all over the world for years. The world premiere occurred in 2013, at the Tarragon Theatre, in Toronto, Ontario.  It was directed by Nina Lee Aquino, set and costumes were designed by Camellia Koo, lighting was designed by Michelle Ramsay, and Michelle Bensimon designed the sound. This show was unique because it implemented the use of real water in their performances, which created a beautiful effect, but also created difficulties. The water was used to thread all of the individual stories, tying them to each other, and the ripped apart their world. 

When speaking to Nina Lee Aquino about her experience with carried away on the crest of a wave, she mentioned that this play is a challenge to work with, because it needs to capture the epic-ness of the play, and the disaster, while also honouring the intimacy within the individual stories. Something that our directorial team has had to deal with. 

To hear Nina Lee Aquino speak more about the 2013 production of carried away on the crest of a wave follow this link:, where she, her husband Richard Lee and daughter Eponine Lee, both cast members, discuss their memories about their production. 


Works Cited

"Tarragon Theatre Premieres CARRIED AWAY ON THE CREST OF A WAVE Tonight." 24 April 2013. Broadway World.

2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami

At 7:59 AM on December 26th, 2004, an undersea earthquake struck off the Indonesian island of Sumatra. It had a magnitude of 9.1. Fifteen minutes later, The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii registered the quake. Twenty minutes later the tsunami waves hit Indonesia. Ninety minutes later the waves hit Thailand. One hundred and twenty minutes later the waves hit Sri Lanka and India. Eight hours after the initial earthquake, the tsunami reaches the coast of Somalia, Tanzania, and Kenya. 

The 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami was one of the deadliest natural disasters in modern history. Nearly 230,000 people were killed from fourteen different countries. The waves reached a height of 30 feet, and traveled at a speed of 800 kph (500 mph). However, the size and speed of the waves were not the only factor making this the deadliest natural disaster in modern history. The earthquake was huge, 9.1 magnitude and over 1000 km in length, and an earthquake of this size was not expected in the Indian Ocean, so there were no tsunami warning systems. The coastal areas affected did not have warning systems nor extensive knowledge on tsunamis so they were unprepared for when one struck. Most people in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, the first place the waves struck, did not realize that the earthquake they felt could cause a tsunami, and were unable to get to higher ground by the time the waves struck. 

To give a sense of the magnitude of this earthquake, the energy released from it is estimated to be equivalent to 23,000 of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima, and the earthquake was so massive that it caused a shift in the Earth’s mass that changed the planet’s rotation. 

To see photos taken of the disaster, follow this link.

To see photos of the devastation, and how the area has recovered follow this link.

To get a feel for the experience of this disaster, here are some first-hand accounts of the event:

For some quick information about tsunamis, as well as this particular event, here are two videos:


Works Cited

"Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004." 19 December 2020. Encyclopedia Britannica.

Reid, Kathryn. "2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami: Facts, FAQs, and how to help." 26 December 2019. World Vision.

Roos, Dave. "The 2004 Tsunami Wiped Away Towns With 'Mind-Boggling' Destruction." 18 September 2020. History.

Satake, K. "Advances in earthquake and tsunami sciences and disaster risk reduction since the 2004 Indian ocean tsunami." 13 November 2014. Geoscience Letters 1, 15.

Sorg, Oliver. “Zwischenbilanz am Hamburg Airport: 10.000 Passagiere pro Tag.” Hamburg News,