Thursday, February 29, 2024
February 29, 2024

Creative First Nations Tale Appeals to Young and Young at Heart


“When you take something from the earth you must always give something back,” promises the moral of this award-winning, family-friendly First Nations production of Th’owxiya: The Hungry Feast by Joseph Dandurand.

Being staged at ArtSpring on Wednesday afternoon, Nov. 9, the young and young at heart are invited to visit the Kwantlen First Nation village of Squa’lets and its tale of Th’owxiya, an old and powerful spirit that inhabits a feast dish of tempting, beautiful foods from around the world. Even surrounded by this delicious food, however, Th’owxiya herself craves only the taste of children.

When she catches a hungry mouse named Kw’at’el stealing a piece of cheese from her dish, she threatens to devour Kw’at’el’s whole family, unless he can bring Th’owxiya two child spirits. Ignorant but desperate, Kw’at’el sets out on an epic journey to fulfill the spirit’s demands. With the help of Sqeweqs (Raven,) two Spa:th (Bears,) and Sasq’ets (Sasquatch,) Kw’at’el endeavours to find gifts that would appease Th’owxiya and save his family.

With reviewers comparing it to “Hansel and Gretel” and the northwest First Nations stories about the Wild Woman of the Woods, Th’owxiya — which integrates Coastal Salish masks, song and dance — is a tale of understanding boundaries, being responsible for one’s actions, forgiving mistakes, and finding the courage to stand up for what’s right.

The performance runs 45 minutes with no intermission. A post-show Q&A talkback is scheduled.

Joseph A. Dandurand is a member of Kwantlen First Nation located on the Fraser River east of Vancouver. Joseph is Director of the Kwantlen Cultural Centre and is currently the storyteller-in-residence of the Vancouver Public Library. He has published twelve books of poetry.

Established in 1976, Vancouver-based Axis Theatre engages audiences in interactive experiences that educate, inspire, and transform, combining traditional and cutting edge physical theatre.

Thank you to Country Grocer for sponsoring the Youth Ticket Program.

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