Ottawa Fringe. 2013. Under the Mango Tree

Reviewed by Rajka Stefanovska

Categories: Ottawa Fringe 2013

Who can tell what is best for another person? Sometimes, what benefits the body may be utterly damaging for the soul.

In “Under the Mango Tree,” Veenesh Dubois explores the depth of pain which starts during her early childhood and stays for the rest of her life. The main character, 10 year old girl Timal, stays with her grandparents at home in a small village on Fiji while her father leaves for Canada in search of a better life for both of them. Six years pass and the only connection she has with her father are letters from this far away land, Canada, and her undying hope that she will be joining him there soon. After she is married off, her dream is crushed, but life goes on and her hope still persists. It is only when she is an adult woman and a mother that her father asks her to visit him. Upon her arrival, she finds out that her father passed away before she could see him again. In her desperate devastation at losing him definitely, she still clings to the hope that they will meet, if not in this than surely in another life.

Dubois wrote this semi-biographical story as a way to come to  reconcile  with her own past and to come to terms with her present. The warmth with which she connects the pain and joy in the life of Timal tells the story hidden under the surface. Her passion and longing are apparent in every letter and every moment of the girl’s life.  As we follow her from her childhood, teenage years to adulthood, we feel her love for her native Fiji. Her characterisations are not always impeccable, but the message came across perfectly. There is no material world which can atone for the loving atmosphere of home.

It is rare that one sees standing ovation on Fringe. Well, this was one!

Written and performed by Veenesh Dubois


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