Ganesh Versus The Third Reich
Artist. Back to Back Theatre
Organisation. Back to Back Theatre
This play begins with the elephant-headed god Ganesh travelling through Nazi Germany to reclaim the ancient Sanskrit symbol of wellbeing that has been appropriated as the Nazi swastika. As this story unfolds a second narrative is revealed: the actors themselves begin to feel the weighty responsibility of storytellers and question the ethics of cultural appropriation.
Cleverly interwoven in the play’s design is the story of a young man inspired to create a play about Ganesh, god of overcoming obstacles. He is an everyman who must find the strength to overcome the difficulties in his own life and defend his play. As the play progresses the relationships between the cast and the director become increasingly fraught.
The play invites us to examine who has the right to tell a story and who has the right to be heard – both on stage and in everyday life. It explores our complicity in creating and dismantling the world, human possibility and hope. It is a multi-layered, often funny and confrontational piece which explores disability, representation and authenticity. A sort of revolution of the oppressed occurs in both narratives of Ganesh.
The Keir Foundation is delighted to be commissioning partner for this work. Ganesh Versus the Third Reich premiered in Melbourne in 2009 and won the Kit Denton Fellowship for Theatrical Courage. Since then it has travelled extensively throughout Europe, to Canada, the US, Tokyo, Helsinki and a number of venues in South America. Ganesh Versus the Third Reich has won numerous awards including the Helpmann Award for Best Australian Play (2012) and the Edinburgh International Festival Herald Angel Critic’s Award (2014).
Back to Back Theatre Company was founded in Melbourne in 1988. The Company is concerned with creating new forms of theatre imagined from the minds and experiences of a unique ensemble of actors perceived to have a disability, giving voice to social and political issues that speak to all people. Back to Back Theatre Company productions focus on moral, philosophical and political questions about the value of individual lives.
The Keir Foundation is delighted to support the commissioning and development of this project.