Don’t Miss Yoga Cannibal at FemFest

As the writer and performer of Yoga Cannibal  (Created/performed by nisha ahuja, Directed/Dramaturged by Yvette Nolan), I am thrilled to be joining FemFest in Winnipeg!  FemFest has been integral to nurturing the voice of the Canadian women theatre-makers and is a fantastic place for artistic exchange among theatre artists and audiences. I’m excited to exchange and dialogue with you through Yoga Cannibal running Sept. 28th & 30th!

Yoga Cannibal is a playful and cutting look at the consumption of culture in the quest for spiritual fulfillment. This one-woman drama-comedy combines elements of yoga, bharatnatayam-inspired movement, image theatre, and  40 yoga mats, while exploring how in North American society “othered” cultures are consumed and digested into products that can be re-branded, re-packaged, and re-sold. Questions of consuming others, ourselves, and culture are brought to light as a personal journey unfolds in the heart-broken former poet and now yogini’s “Omega Orange” Yoga Class. Monica teaches and sells Omega Orange copyrighted yoga, equipment, and clothing with a life encompassing dedication; so much so that she has given up her own creative passions and tries to mold into others’ (especially her girlfriend’s) idea of being a perfect (brown) yogini. Monica as a South Asian woman is unaware of her role of not only promoting the branding and commercialization of this sacred tradition, but also of becoming apart of the branding herself.  She is consumed, but is also consuming herself.

The audience is invited to laugh at the absurdity and perversity of the consumption and commerce of yoga, while taken on an exotified, entertaining, and emotional journey, which provokes them to ask questions about cultural identity, cultural appropriation, and the soul of an artist trapped in a world of commerce.

Yoga Cannibal was developed through Buddies in Bad Times Theatre Lady’s Creator Unit in 2007 with the support of Ontario Art Council’s Theatre Creator’s Reserve (Dramaturge Moynan King, and Movement/Creative Consultant Nathalie Claude).

Partnered with director/dramaturge Yvette Nolan, the play premiered at Buddies’ Hysteria Festival in October 2007 as a “Must See” (Xtra Toronto) to enthusiastic audiences, who called the production “powerful”, “funny”, “fresh”, “smart”, and “a rollercoaster of emotions”.

We redeveloped and ‘reincarnated’ the piece for the Ottawa and Vancouver Fringe Festivals in 2008 where CBC Radio One raved, “The crowd really ate this one up. …Good Pace… Good Energy…She’s a lot of Fun.”

And with another round of workshops and rewriting we bring FemFest and Theatre Passe Murraille (Oct. 2009, Toronto) this new version of Yoga Cannibal

I’m looking forward to meeting you and sharing my work with you soon!

– nisha ahuja

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