Tag Archives: Indigenous

Encounter Comes To The York Theatre October 17 – 22, 2017

10 Oct

EncounterChristopherJosephThe best in physical theatre comes to the Cultch in conjunction with Diwali. Encounter is a story about an Indigenous woman, Dopdi, and her communities’ struggle to uphold the Indigenous life and her defiance against injustice. Created for the stage by Aparna Sindhoor, S M Raju, and Anil Natyaveda, Encounter is a tribute to the Indigenous people’s history. It is a passionate story of female power that delves into the struggles and challenges of the indigenous communities of India. Aparna Sindhoor, co-writer of Encounter says “The word ‘Encounter’ has a specific meaning in the Indian (South Asian) context. It is a euphemism for the state orchestrated ‘chance meetings,’ to get rid of (kill, or torture and kill) the so-called enemies of the state.” The performance features acrobatics and original music which pays tribute to Indigenous peoples’ history from around the world. The show runs October 17 – 22, 2017 at the York Theatre. Tickets are available at The Cultch.

Contributing Writer Tiva Quinn reviews Encounter:

Encounter is a dance-play that is political, sensual, humorous and informative. There’s a bit of every possible emotion along the way, but, ultimately, it’s also a story about an enormous tragedy.

The dancers portray members of an indigenous group in India who find that their land is being taken for mining, while their water is being diverted for factories. In order to survive at all, they have no choice but to “steal” water from the wells of a wealthy landowner nearby, and so the military is called to put a stop to this crime.

The dancers also portray members of the military who have been sent to break up the “rebellion.” At one point, they tell us stories about why they joined the armed forces, and most of the stories are relatable – one needs to feed his family, one is saving to send her daughter to college, and of course one is in love with his gun, but there’s no distinction among them when their leader asks them to do “the needful” and try to get information from a prisoner.

In the South Asian context, “encounter” refers to times when the army captures suspected rebels and tortures or kills them. The story opens and closes on a scene of one such torture, and yes, it’s told through dance. The troupe are all very talented and they create some visually arresting tableaus out of these scenes. And in a world where a show like 24 asks us to identify with the torturer, why shouldn’t we have art that asks us to identify with both the torturer and those who are tortured?

If you’re looking for a note of hope, a sense of closure, or a call to action that makes you feel like you can make a difference, there isn’t one. It wouldn’t be especially true to the reality of the situation if there was.

Do I recommend seeing it, though? Yes.

Photo Credit: Christopher Joseph

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