Becoming Another

by Joseph McKeown


"Apa is a well-known and unruly character in the dances of the Monpa and Sherdukpen peoples. Alternating between playing the village chief (with a yellow form of this mask), an animal hunter (a black or dark red form), a lustful drunk (an orange form), or a senile old man, he appears in multiple village and monastic dances. This mask of Apa most likely represents the farcical drunk, who in the dance tries to seduce and intoxicate eleven women of high rank. The performance ends with Apa realizing his wrongdoing and excusing himself to the women."