Tiva Quinn Reviews Map Of The Land, Map Of The Stars Part Of The 2018 Talking Stick Festival

22 Feb

TalkingStickFestivalMap of the Land, Map of the Stars by Gwaandak Theatre achieves the unusual feat of being very educational and raising provocative questions, while at the same time presenting a dreamlike quality as theatre, dance and projected images blend to present a variety of “story beads” about life in the Yukon over the centuries for indigenous people and the various other peoples who came to the country and interacted with them.

The stories don’t seem to be told in any particular order, and not all of them feel finished, but since they are interspersed with dance sequences my usual sense of how a narrative “should” work was suspended and I was able accept the stories for whatever information or evocative power they contained. It felt more than a little bit like piecing together the things that I know about my own family – some parts make more sense than others. Some parts carry a lot of emotional weight even though it also feels like the story is incomplete or contradictory, and some parts are neat little stories that come with a moral or a punchline.

The material is heavy, light, and everything in between. The dance is in many different styles but always interesting. Highly recommended.

Map of the Land, Map of the Stars is part of the 2018 Talking Stick Festival, which runs through Saturday, February 24th. More information about this event and other festival events is available at fullcircle.ca.

By Contributing Writer Tiva Quinn

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