'"Ganesh Versus the Third Reich' is a serious investigation into the issues about cultural appropriation: it explores who has the authority to tell stories, and how - via symbols, rituals and the like - stories can be told.
Back to Back Theatre is a theatre company with an ensemble of actors with disabilities at its core. In presenting "Ganesh Versus the Third Reich", Back to Back is seeking, in part , to examine how individuals who are perceived to be outsiders (of all kinds), can comment and respond to, and so by extension, be more strongly integrated into a pluralistic society. Through our work, we are seeking to engender dialogue and tolerance. In our opinion, Ganesh is treated with great respect in the work. His integrity and status is never threatened. He is all powerful.
Ganesh is the hero of the work and has an embodiment of goodness and greatness. The representation of Ganesh is not ridiculed or engaged in violent action in the performance. In developing the show, Back to Back Theatre has researched how Ganesh and other deities have been represented in cinema, theatre, graphic novels and dance from the 1960s to the present.
We consider the representation of Ganesh in the work is within the parameters of the cannon that currently exists. We would like to assure members of the Hindu community that it is not our intent to portray Ganesh in a way that is disrespectful. We regret any inadvertent concern or apprehension about the play which may have arisen prior to its performance. Source: www.malthousetheatre.com.au/ (Sighted 04/10/2011).
'In Scene 9 of Back to Back Theatre’s Ganesh Versus the Third Reich, an intellectually disabled actor, Scott Price, abruptly interrupts the fictional rehearsal process involving his fellow performers, Simon Laherty, who plays a Jewish boy and Adolf Hitler, and David Woods, who plays the ‘director’ in the meta-narrative. Price asks a provocative question about the powers of representation in art, its unrestrained tendencies to appropriate, and the ethics of such dramaturgical actions. Referring to the company’s intentions and process of staging a play, which itself is also called Ganesh Versus the Third Reich (hereafter Ganesh) Price declares his discomfort with his Australian colleagues performing as Jews, German Nazis, and Hindu gods.' (Introduction)
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