In front of a packed house that included Shuvinai Ashoona, the Qaggiq Collective performed its riveting performance, Kiviuq Returns: An Inuit Epic.
Directed by Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory, the play itself is a magical and powerful combination of music, drumming, dance and storytelling. Despite the fact that the performance is entirely in Inuktitut without surtitles, the audience was enraptured and breathlessly silent throughout the production.
It was that much more moving sitting beside Shuvinai who is in town for the opening of her two shows: Shuvinai Ashoona – We End Up Dreaming here at Feheley Inuit Art and Shuvinai Ashoona – Mapping Worlds at the Power Plant.
The play was first performed here last summer – a single performance as part of the Living Ritual festival.
The quality and strength of the show underscores the need for a performing arts centre in Nunavut, the only province or territory without one.
It also demonstrates how a courageous performance in Inuktitut strikes such a unique, yet universal message that is captivating here in the hub of southern culture.
The capstone for us was the finale of singing and dancing where the performers came off the stage and summoned Shuvinai on stage to dance, sing and clap with the cast.
Kiviuq Returns continues at the Tarragon Theatre through January 27th.
The Shuvinai Ashoona – We End Up Dreaming exhibition runs from January 26 – February 23 at Feheley.
The Shuvinai Ashoona – Mapping Worlds exhibition runs at the Power Plant from January 26 – May 12.