It’s surreal, yet somehow unsurprising, that a 2012 Helpmann Award-winning play about the Hindu god Ganesh travelling through Nazi Germany to reclaim the swastika was conceived and performed by the Back to Back Theatre from Geelong, Victoria.
Ganesh Versus the Third Reich, a heart-warming yet disarming play about life’s difficulties and overcoming obstacles, will make its Sydney debut at Carriageworks after an international tour.
The work has two simultaneous narratives. The first being elephant-headed god Ganesh’s journey through Nazi Germany to reclaim the auspicious ancient Hindu symbol of the swastika after its appropriation and misuse by Hitler. The other narrative is that of actors in a theatre company exploring the ethics and politics of appropriating cultural symbols.
“There’s an edge of the seat poignancy to the work of the ensemble,” says Alice Gerlach, Back to Back Theatre’s Marketing & Development Manager.
“There are many layers to the ownership of symbols and their power and the actors deal with these issues with integrity and respect of the potential controversy.”
Back to Back Theatre comprises actors whom are perceived to have intellectual disabilities and Gerlach says, “This gives the company an outsider’s eye on things and a keen sense for the issues of our time.”
Mar 12-15, Carriageworks, 245 Wilson St, Redfern, $35, carriageworks.com.au