Th’owxiya: The Hungry Feast Dish – Axis Theatre
Until July 2nd
Axis Theatre is cooking up something new for young audiences this summer. Th’owxiya: The Hungry Feast Dish will feature Indigenous Gods, food and masks in a delicious and savoury theatrical treat. I asked Artistic Director Chris McGregor about the show.
Give me a quick summary of the plot. What is Th’owxiya: The Hungry Feast Dish?
TH’OWXIYA: THE HUNGRY FEAST DISH (A Play in Mask) by Joseph A. Dandurand is based on a Kwantlen First Nations legend. The story begins when a piece of cheese is taken from a very old feast dish, Th’owxiya. She is a very powerful First Nations goddess a kin to mother earth. The thief, a young Mouse (KW’AT’EL), must make amends for his crime by finding two child spirits for the hungry Th’owxiya to eat; otherwise she will eat his whole family. On his journey, he encounters two young Bears (SP:ATH), a trickster Raven (SQEWEQS) and a spirit world filled with magic and adventure. By absorbing the knowledge of his new friends, he finds alternate gifts to sooth the powerful Th’owxiya goddess. However, he must present these gifts before the second moon rises or else they all become part of the feast!
So why did you decide to do this show in particular?
I have worked on several First Nations plays over the years and have been fascinated with the amazing array of spirit animals that exist in their legends and stories. TH’OWXIYA: THE HUNGRY FEAST DISH is no exception. With an incredible cast of characters weaving a humorous, dark, adventure-incorporating mask, puppetry and traditional First Nations music it will keep you on the edge of your seat wondering, WHAT will happen next?
What is in it for the audience? Is it just ‘theatre that’s good for you’ or is there something more?
The audience will not only experience an exciting adventure in the spirit world they will also be reminded of a few important lessons; when you take something from the earth you must give something back or else there will be no more trees, fish, or food left for the next generation. The playwright said, “I would love for an audience to come away with a touch of morality of how important our environment is to us as a people”.
What was the biggest challenge putting on this show?
The biggest challenge is adhering to specific cultural and traditional First Nations protocols. We want to ensure that we do not take anything for granted or anything out of context. We have a great team of people guiding us on all aspects of design to guarantee we are not exploiting or misusing any cultural traditions. It’s a challenge, but one that has given us a deeper understanding of a rich and vibrant community.
How did Axis Theatre end up connecting with Kwantlen First Nations Village of Squa’lets Storytellers?
In August 2014 Joseph sent me his play Don’t Touch the Indians. I read it and liked it, but it wasn’t geared for young audiences, so I asked him if had any plays that would be suitable. He sent TH’OWXIYA: THE HUNGRY FEAST DISH and that was that. We completed two amazing workshops and are excited to present the world premiere on Aboriginal Day (June 21st, 2017).
Who is going to enjoy this show and how do we get tickets?
Intended for the entire family bring your kids aged 5 to 12. You can book your FREE tickets on our website www.axistheatre.com. The adventure takes place outdoors at the UBC Botanical Gardens. After the show take a walk through the beautiful UBC gardens and enjoy the day with your family. Public shows are June 24th & 25th and July 1st & 2nd 11:00am or 1:00pm.
Thank you Chris, it sounds enchanting.
David C. Jones