Get Great Vision from Fish Eyes at the GCTC

Beyoncé, eat your heart out. When it comes to shaking your booty and making the moves on the dance floor, there is nobody like Anita Majumdar. Majumdar, the star, playwright and choreographer of the current double bill at the GCTC, Fish Eyes and Boys with Cars, has Beyoncé beat by far.

In Fish Eyes and Boys with Cars, (which are actually parts 1 and 2 of a trilogy–hopefully part 3 will appear on stage at the GCTC at some point), Majumdar dazzles with her acting and classical and modern Indian dance. She is also one fabulous storyteller. In both plays, she looks at women’s honour and some of the themes aroundFISH BOYS GCTC Oct 2014 2 photo by Andrew Alexander it.

The first installment, Fish Eyes, follows the life of Meena, an endearing Canadian teenager of Indian descent struggling with all the normal teenage angst (unrequited love, wanting to fit in) but who, unlike other students in her town of Port Moody, is a gifted Indian dancer. The play shows how Meena manoeuvres between her Indo-cultural community (and her love of Bollywood and its stars), the expectations placed on her by her dance teacher to just dealing with life as a suburban kid.

Fish Eyes also sympathetically explores some of the struggles of Meena’s dance teacher experiences as a 1st generation immigrant in a funny yet empathetic way. Her perspective on life and some of her opinions (including her hilarious, lingering hatred of all that is British) is funny and touching all at once.

The two plays vary in terms of content and approach. Fish Eyes is the much lighter of the two and yet still delves into some deeper issues such as cultural and personal identity and navigating your way through life.FISH BOYS GCTC Oct 2014 3 crop photo by Andrew Alexander

The second installment of the trilogy, Boys with Cars, is dark and at times uncomfortable. It delves into the world of sexual politics and how girls take the hit when sexual impropriety occurs, regardless of circumstances. In the case of the main character, Naz, her whole world is rocked to the core after a groping incident during a high school assembly which pits her against everyone else. The experience leaves her scarred, both in the loss of her boyfriend (devastating for any teenager), but more importantly because it derails her plans for university. Instead of hitting the books after graduating, she hits the dance floor, performing at local weddings, including the nuptials of her perpetrator (although that wedding has its tragic elements as well.) Naz’s dance teacher, a first generation Canadian, also has her own tragic tale and the play touches on the murky world of honour killings.

As a one-woman production, Majumdar moves from character to character with impressive ease. That said, Boys with Cars requires a bit more mental acumen to follow as there are more characters and there are a couple of instances when the plot feels a bit disjointed. At times, Boys even drags, but only ever so slightly. However, those are brief moments in the overall experience. Fish Eyes, for its part, is just pure delight and flies by. Majumdar is a talent to be reckoned with and has a stage presence as an actor that radiates. Then, when she dances, in both plays, her magnetism and dynamism draw you in completely. Her incredible energy is palpable and she is utterly captivating.

Fish Eyes and Boys with Cars run until November 2, 2014.