Aviaq Johnston's debut novel will take to the stage in Greenland this January.
Nunatta Isiginnaartitsisarfia, the National Theatre of Greenland, is set to adapt the award-winning Inuk author's young adult novel, Those Who Run in the Sky, as the first performance of its landmark 10th-anniversary season.
“We are proud to be the first theatre to put this story on stage and thus also honour the close ties that exist between Inuit in Canada and Greenland,” says Nunatta Isiginnaartitsisarfia director Susanne Andreasen in a press release. “We share many of the same stories, myths, and legends on which this story is built, and the performance is created in a collaboration between Canadian and Greenlandic artists.”
First published in 2017 by Inhabit Media, Those Who Run in the Sky is a coming-of-age story of a young shaman, named Pitu, who finds himself lost in the world of the spirits while learning to use his magical powers. Without his dog team or weapons, he must find his way back while encountering monstrous spirits, fearful creatures, and incredible figures from Inuit legend.
“After stumbling upon a fellow shaman who has been trapped in the spirit world for many years, Pitu realizes that he must master all of his shamanic powers to make his way back to the world of the living, to his family, and to the girl that he loves.”
The novel was the winner of 2018’s Indigenous Voices Award for Most Significant Work of Prose in English by an Emerging Indigenous Writer and a finalist for the 2017 Governor General’s Literary Award for Young People’s Literature.
Originally from Iglulik and currently living in Iqaluit, Johnston published a sequel to the novel, entitled Those Who Dwell Below, last year.
The Greenlandic performance of Angakkussaq (“The one who is to become a shaman”) will debut on January 10 and run through to January 14 at the National Theatre of Greenland in Nuuk before touring smaller communities like Sisimiut, Aasiaat, Ilulissat, and Qaqortoq.