THE FISH EYES TRILOGY by Anita Majumdar (Nightswimming Theatre/Factory, 125 Bathurst). Runs to Oct. 15. $20-$50. factorytheatre.ca. See listing. Rating:.
Im patiently waiting to become irrelevant is the closing line of Anita Majumdars playbill notes for The Fish Eyes Trilogy.
The Dora-award-winning playwright/choreographer/performers work is hardly irrelevant in fact, it consistently highlights issues surrounding consent, cultural appropriation and colonialism topics that have become amplified in the public discourse.
Her one-person show consists of three plays Boys With Cars, Let Me Borrow That Top and Fish Eyes each told from the perspective of a different girl (Naznin, Candice and Meena, respectively) attending Port Moody Secondary School.
The darkest of the plays is Boys, centring on the distraught Naznin, an Indian-Canadian woman sexually assaulted by a popular jock named Buddy, then slut-shamed by his white girlfriend Candice (the most popular girl at PMSS), and finally, abandoned by her boyfriend Lucky. Nazs Indian dance training goes from an artistic gift that lets her stay close to her culture to a lonely, soul-sucking job performing dances at weddings.
Despite the horrendous description we get of Candice in Boys, we come around to her a little bit in Borrow That Top, as she dictates a makeup tutorial on her YouTube vlog while rambling about various family problems and her love for Indian dance.
Fish Eyess Meena is the most memorable of the three she recounts growing up learning Indian dance between excited anecdotes about her wide-eyed obsessions with Bollywood and Buddy. Her crush on the boy leads her to quit a trip to India to dance. Her Auntie, an older Indian lady who dishes out life lessons on how to remain true to your cultural roots in a colonized state, makes a convincing case as to why she disapproves of Meenas decision.
Jackie Chaus set is elegant, minimalist and polished, with sparse props and warm colours to match the characters personalities. Though Majumdars performance is solid (with direction by Brian Quirt), her turns as the ditzy Candice, dumb Buddy and jocular Lucky are little more than caricatures always a potential problem with one-person shows. Its especially difficult to believe the white girls passion for Indian dancing.
If you can survive the 2.5 hour runtime (including two intermissions), youll find Majumdars nuanced Indian female characters quite affable and lovely. Their individual voices and anecdotes, not to mention the dazzling dancing, make this trilogy an important play to check out.