Mappa Mundi

Mappa Mundi $14.99

Nisha Dassyne et al intro Roshni Mooneeram

Published by Border Crossing

4 Male 2 Female

Mappa Mundi takes its name and inspiration from the famous medieval map that hangs in Hereford Cathedral - the know Christian world sharply defined, the unexplored regions peopled by fantastical monsters, cannibals, griffons and fire-tongued serpents

Brought back to life by children playing on his grave, the map-maker Richard of Holdingham witnesses the contemporary world - much of which has been shaped by ideas contained in his map

Richard meets a rootless child, called Anjali, whom he believes to be an angel. Travelling in her company, he witnesses a number of key moments from 20th century history, each of which touches on the ways in which a world view or map can become the cause of suffering

These visions are the stories of the performers' own ancestors, told through theatre styles appropriate to the cultures represented

Richard sees a Chinese child bride sold into marriage with a Western man in Hong Kong; her children being denied British citizenship, and the death of one of them in the 1941 siege of Hong Kong

He sees children fleeing their Spanish home for Mexico when their parents are murdered by the Basques; and the process by which one of them comes to embrace his new mixed identity as a Mexican - mestizaje

He sees an Indo-Mauritian political agitator rejected by his mother because he has a Sino-Mauritian mistress - a rejection which leads to his suicide

He sees an African warrior driven from his tribe by jealous plots, and ending his life as a cook on a Zimbabwean farm, where he forms an ambivalent friendship with the Rhodesian farmer

The stories constantly inter-link through imagery, themes and motifs, building up an overall picture of our shared global inheritance

Richard begins to blame himself for much of what he sees - an exclusive world map is a politically manipulative tool. Returning to Hereford Cathedral, he invokes the spirits he has seen in his visions, and brings them towards a new reconciliation with his injunction to Anjali to draw an inclusive new map of the world

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