The following is some feedback from members of the audience:
“SURVIVING SAMSARA’s theatrical performance is a must see! This piece included so many stories of personal journeys using multimedia and talented performers sharing their stories of the stigma of living with a mental illness. From the “welfare office” to the hospital ward and many places in between I was moved to tears and as well as laughter and mostly amazed at the strength of the human spirit to rise above such adversity. Congratulations to Kagan Goh for his insightful and brilliant work and to all those who contributed and supported this production.”
Nancy Keough – Executive Director, Kettle Friendship Society
"I was lucky enough to attend one of the two stagings of Kagan Goh's remarkable collaborative work "Surviving Samsara." Goh, a gifted poet and performer, worked seamlessly with a group of talented artists, all, like him, survivors of Canada's mental health system, weaving their creations into the larger structure of his compelling text, "Surviving Samsara." Watching this accomplished and moving performance, I thought of my sister, who is a hospice nurse working with the dying, and of one of the learnings she shared with me. "You must always let the heart remain broken," a teacher told her, " because that is how the compassion comes through." Goh's work has the courage to face into the heartbreaking realities of madness, poverty, sexism and racism without going numb or bitter. Instead, he and his colleagues in "Surviving Samsara" follow the teacher's advice to the hospice worker. They let the compassion come though the broken heart, and shape it into art that is both elegant and tender, which is, to my mind, a pretty good description of some of the best art practice available. Any funding that went to get this powerful and moving art before more audiences will be well spent. "
Tom Sandborn - critic, reviewer, investigative journalist
“There are rare instances in life when art becomes transcendent. Times when art pierces the soul of the spectator, and it heals her.
The theatrical performance of Surviving Samsara by Kagan Goh at the Interurban Gallery was one of those times.
The performance includes theatre, live music, Butoh dance, spoken word and poetry to relate the story of the protagonist’s fall into mental illness: his descent into madness, the slow coming to terms with his condition, and the ultimate acceptance of himself and his life, rising from the experience whole and healed, yet a broken individual who was able to piece himself together and is able to navigate the hellish landscapes of Samsara to help others in their journey.
I cried a lot. The experience was too human, too honest, too beautiful for me to remain unmoved. The ending was a humbling revelation that made me sob in awe of the transcendent I had just witnessed.
And I wasn’t the only one. The audience rose into a standing ovation that lasted several minutes.
It was an honor to witness art in such a way, a rare experience of art in its ultimate form, a healing force like so few I have had in life. An experience I will never forget.”
Venus Soberanes – Expressive Arts Therapist, Counselor and Artist