by Lynn on October 30, 2023

in The Passionate Playgoer

Live and in person at Young People’s Theatre, Toronto, Ont. An Axis Theatre Production. Runs until Nov. 6.

Written by Joseph A. Dandurand

Directed by Chris McGregor

Production design by Jay Havens

Music Composer, Marguerite Witvoet

Cast: Meela Alexis

Cassandra Bourchier

Danica Charlie

Braiden Houle

Margo Kane

Damion Leclair

A traditional Coast Salish legend, full of Sto:lo music, masks and imagery from  Axis Theatre of Vancouver.

From the company information: “This Kwantlen First Nations legend follows a cheese-stealing mouse (Kw’at’el) who must find and offer two children to the hungry ogress Th’owxiya (pronounced “the-walk-sia), to make amends for a theft. With the help of Raven (Sqeweqs), Bear (Spa:th) and Sasquatch (Sasq’ets), the sly mouse embarks on a journey to trick the angry spirit and save their family from becoming the ogre’s next feast.”

The production is full of the colour and flavour of Indigenous symbols, drums, animals, totems, art and music. Production designer Jay Havens has done a wonderful job of capturing the magical world of this legend. Th’owxiya is a large, forbidding structure with an impressive head and a body that is open, containing all manner of fruit. In spite of being full of food, Th’owxiya still wanted to dine on children. And heaven help any animal who stole food from the ogress. There would be hell to pay.

The costumes are as colourful and vivid as the set. The Raven (Damion Leclair) has feathers and a large beak and moves with grace; The Bear (Meela Alexis) is expressive; Mouse (Cassandra Bourchier) is wily and clever; Sasquatch (Danica Charlie) and Tree and Bear (Braiden Houle work together to serve Th’owxiya. Margo Lane provides the deep rumbling voice of Th’owxiya.

Th’owxiya, The Hungry Feast Dish is a fascinating look into this Indigenous legend. The idea of sharing food is lovely.  I must confess that recommending this for children 5-8 years old seemed a bit too young for this complex story and certainly when Th’owxiya wanted to eat children.  

An Axis Theatre Production, presented by Young People’s Theatre.

Plays until Nov. 5, 2023

Running Time: 45 minutes with a short Q and A

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