Un-Settling

Unsettling-Nisha-A-Key-ImageCreated and Performed By: Nisha Ahuja

Show Type: Bouffon
Audience: General

Performed at Gallery #1: B Contemporary Gallery

Review by: Sean Pittman

Do you hear that rumbling? In the distance? Un-settling, created and performed by the multi-talented bouffon Nisha Ahuja, takes the audience on a playful journey to address the historical and contemporary challenges of colonization and de-colonization.

Entering the performance space as an unassuming maid, Ahuja drags a large trunk into the space which soon becomes integral to the performance. Perhaps to escape the rumbling, the character transforms her identity. With the assistance of white-face makeup, in effect, the colonized becomes the colonizer.

What follows un-settles the audience’s perceptions of who controls and who is being controlled. The identity of the colonizer is superimposed on our character, and the audience becomes his pupils. Re-appropriating lessons from The White Man’s Burden, The audience is taken on a crash course in the values and attitudes required to ‘succeed’ in the Western world. The rumbling continues, ultimately forcing our character to rethink her new-found identity.

Excellent performance by Ahuja, and a masterful use of humour and the bouffon format to tackle issues of identity in the context of de-colonization. Stick around post-performance for a talk-back session with Ahuja!

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