Inspirational, Heartwarming, Tragic—A FemFest production not to be missed

River is one of the more emotionally compelling stories at this year’s FemFest. We are honoured that River playwright, Rubena Sinha was willing to share the story behind the tragic yet heartwarming journey that inspired her writing process.


Rubena Sinha

I am thrilled and honoured to be invited to share River at FemFest 2014 with musician and dear friend, Phoebe Man.

One day my daughter came home and said, Carol Shields and Marjorie Anderson are collecting stories for the third volume of their anthology Dropped Threads, and would I like to write something for it?

At that time my husband was very ill. We had him at home, and I was with him all the time. That’s when I started thinking…so many years I have lived in Canada…I asked myself, what hashappened to me through this life?

I was very young when I came here, leaving my parents behind was a tremendous shock. I had to learn a new language, how to walk in the snow and most importantly, be independent in a way I had never been before. It was the first time I realized what freedom really means.

I found a home in the dance community in Winnipeg. Through them I was able to express my trueself; dance doesn’t need words. I also learned that no matter how far from your family you are, you bring something of them in you. That something was courage.

I didn’t know then how much I would need that courage later in my life. As I thought about my story, I realized how much courage I had drawn from…to live through the loss of my parents, my daughter’s rape and the suffering it brought my family and, how at that very moment, I was facing the loss of my husband.

That was six years ago. This piece, River, is the story of a search.

To find ourselves, we had to search within ourselves; and I found comfort and wisdom in the stories that came from the Mahabharata, from folklore… and my grandmother. River is also drawn from love. When death came we had to let him go, but in that letting go, we found strength in taking care of each other and in how much we loved him. Though River is the story of my journey, it is mine only in the details. It belongs to you in every way, as together we look for meaning where sometimes there is none, and face the things we all have to one day.

I can’t say I have found peace, but I can say I believe in it. I offer you River, with love.

Phoebe Man

Phoebe Man

River was developed with the assistance of the OAC’s word of Mouth grant and was presented at the Toronto Festival of Storytelling in 2009 and the Carol Shields Symposium in Winnipeg last year.

You can catch River at FemFest on September 16th at 7 PM, September 18th at 2:30 PM and September 20th at 3 PM. Book your tickets now:


Leave a comment

No comments yet.

Comments RSS TrackBack Identifier URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s