Oct. 24, 2012 - Issue #888: Winter Guide 2012
Thousand Faces Festival
Avenue Theatre, free (donations
Cultures around the world are steeped in defining mythology, and while on the surface each culture may seem independent of one another, the roots of myth connect.
"What I really wanted to do was have something that celebrated myth and created the possibility for audiences to immerse themselves in myths from different cultures and see how connected they are," says Mark Henderson, director for the Thousand Faces Festival. "It may sound hokey in this day and age, but to share our humanity on a fairly profound level."
Henderson believes that a better understanding of other cultures will allow people to better understand their own.
His interest in mythology was sparked by filmmaker George Lucas, although he admits he's not a fan of anything the director has done in the last 20 years. Lucas's original Star Wars trilogy was inspired by the journey pattern of Joseph Campbell's book The Hero With A Thousand Faces (hence the festival name) and Henderson says that inspiration has since changed his own life.
"I got to see a movie that wasn't about divorce or what kind of things we should eat or do or how tough Chuck Norris was," laughs Henderson, who was 12 years old at the time. "It was about a hero that was having real problems, doing something that utterly mattered, that had to happen even though it had no chance of success, but somehow we all knew that was going to happen and as that journey unfolded, even though I wasn't that exposed to myth, something profound was going on on the level that my buddies and I could cheer for, but it seemed something was happening on a deeper level as well."
The film was a catalyst for Henderson's journey into mythology, leading him to Lord of the Rings, Shakespeare, East Indian mythology and everything in between. He believes mythology and mythic art has the ability to capture the imagination across cultures and generations, whether it's a seven-year-old discovering them for the first time or an 80-year-old.
Audiences will be immersed in a diverse and entertaining lineup that includes The Buddha Suite, a jazz composition exploring the life of the Buddha; Trad-Cirq, a family friendly circus with Alberta Aboriginal Arts based on the myth of the hero's journey; original performances by the Good Women Dance Collective; a performance of The Wishing Tree by a collective of local theatre artists; performances of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream and Romeo and Juliet by Theatre Prospero; a performance by master storyteller Tololwa Mollel; and Navadurga: 9 Moods of Mother, a multi-disciplinary performance created by Grammy Award-nominated Hindustani slide guitarist Debashish Bhattacharya along with local filmmaker and media artist Shreela Chakrabartty.
"Often, you go to a concert where you kind of have to be in the know, you have to know what the stories are, you have to know the background of the music in order to appreciate it," Chakrabartty notes. "We wanted to step outside that box and instead we wanted to show what this music illustrates, so some of the tangible elements are the figures of the mother goddess, and in this case we wanted to explore the idea of the supreme mother goddess and how she manifests in nine different ways in Hindu mythology."
In addition to the manifestations in traditional Hindu mythology, Chakrabartty says they wanted to depict how the mother goddess's manifestations resonate in western society in the present day, which was done with the help of local photographer Kyla Feschu.
Overall, Chakrabartty says the festival is not only a beneficial way to celebrate and explore cultural mythology, but also to bring different cultures together.
"Nowadays we do things very cross-culturally, so when you start to compare different mythologies you will start to find that they all say the same thing," she adds. "We are all human beings ... maybe we use different metaphors, but the message is always the same." vueweekly.com comments: powered by Disqus
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