Kwantlen First Nation playwright, writer, and poet Joseph A. Dandurand has dusted off a 25-year-old play that he wrote, called Th’owxiya: The Hungry Feast Dish. Troy Landreville Langley Times

‘Feast Dish’ play deeply rooted in First Nations culture

Tho’owxiya: The Hungry Feast Dish comes to life in Fort Langley, Vancouver

Th’owxiya: The Hungry Feast Dish is a play a quarter century in the making.

The Dandurand-penned play was resurrected after laying dormant for 25 years.

In the early 1990s, Kwantlen First Nation member Joseph A. Dandurand was interning at the New Museum of Civilization, which started a pilot program for aboriginal people to study museology (the science or practice of organizing, arranging, and managing museums).

“I knew nothing about museums,” Dandurand said. “But they had an interpretive theatre company that would put on plays about whale blubber and stuff like that. So I was interned to write scripts for them, to do native stories.”

One day, Dandurand was sitting in the grand hall decorated with carvings and totem poles. On the stage, Dandurand said, was “this feast dish.”

Inspired, he wrote a play about Th’owxiya, a mythological woman who would steal children if they were misbehaving.

“Kind of like Hansel and Gretel,” Dandurand said. “So you behave, or else Th’owxiya would get you.”

The narrative is deep-rooted in First Nations culture.

Th’owxiya’s mouth holds the most delicious foods, but if you steal from her, she’ll eat you and your family. A young mouse has made that mistake, but with the help of two young bears, Raven, and Sasquatch, the creature takes a journey to earn her forgiveness.

Sounds grim, but Dandurand insists it’s a family-friendly play that’s interactive and encourages audience involvement.

“It’s very simple, almost ritualistic in how it’s performed. It’s done in masks,” Dandurand said.

He said, “there’s nothing frightening about it. The kids get involved. A raven teaches them how to fly, so they get up and fly.”

Th’owxiya: The Hungry Feast Dish came to life through a shift in the way poetry and scripts were being delivered, and accepted by companies.

Dandurand explains: “Before, when I submitted my plays or my poems, they always had to have a self-addressed envelope for them to reject me. Then, a few years ago, I started noticing that a lot of theatre companies and poetry magazines were accepting unsolicited work. So I just threw (my work) out there to all the different theatre companies and now I get rejected by email, which is much better.”

Much of Dandurand’s writing through the years consists of dramas and dark poetry. While Vancouver’s Axis Theatre Company was drawn to his plays, the company was seeking something that would appeal to children.

“I had this play packed away somewhere, so I sent it to (director) Chris McGregor at Axis Theatre,” Dandurand said. “He work-shopped it last year and it had a premiere at UBC’s Botanical Gardens and now it’s being picked up by the Talking Stick Festival.”

Th’owxiya: The Hungry Feast Dish will be performed at the festival this Saturday at noon and 3 p.m. at the Roundhouse Performance Centre (181 Roundhouse Mews, Vancouver).

For tickets, visit https://fullcircle.ca/festival/about/family-fun/ and click on Th’owxiya: The Hungry Feast Dish.

Just Posted

How much does your city spend per person on snow removal?

Black Press Media compares 2018 ice and snow removal budgets of various Lower Mainland communities

Stock trading allegations dismissed against former Langley spiritual leader

Investors allegedly lost $740,000 investing through a local religious organization.

Langley photographer captures otters amid the ice

While photographing winter on the river, a local photographer was there when otters caught a fish.

B.C. BUDGET: Surplus $374 million after bailouts of BC Hydro, ICBC

Growth projected stronger in 2020, Finance Minister Carole James says

Young curlers compete in Langley

Optimist Junior Curling Division features U18 players

VIDEO: 8 things you need to know about the 2019 B.C. budget

Surplus of $247 million with spending on children, affordability and infrastructure

‘Bullet missed me by an inch’: Man recounts friend’s killing at Kamloops hotel

Penticton man witnessed Summerland resident Rex Gill’s murder in Kamloops

B.C. BUDGET: Income assistance raise still leaves many below poverty line

$50 per month increase included in funding for poverty and homelessness reduction

B.C. BUDGET: Indigenous communities promised billions from gambling

Extended family caregiver pay up 75 per cent to keep kids with relatives

B.C. BUDGET: New benefit increases family tax credits up to 96 per cent

BC Child Opportunity Benefit part of province’s efforts to reduce child poverty

B.C. BUDGET: Carbon tax boosts low-income credits, electric vehicle subsidies

Homeowners can get up to $14,000 for heating, insulation upgrades

B.C. man survives heart attack thanks to Facebook

A Princeton man suffered a heart attack while at an isolated property with no cell service

Abbotsford man sues Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party over trademark

Satinder Dhillon filed application for trademark same day Maxime Bernier announced the new party

New trial ordered over banning whales, dolphins at Vancouver aquarium

Park board’s appeal reverses previous decision that found it had no right to implement a ban

Most Read