This is part of an ongoing Shakespeare series. It’s Tori here with the latest Shakespeare news from Toronto.
On Friday, October 19th, at the Collective Space (221 Sterling Rd.), The Shakespeare-In-Hospitals Program will knock it out of the park with the launch of their 2018 season opener celebration focusing on concepts home. Showcasing a script constructed out of over twenty different Shakespeare texts (along with some well-aimed baseball quotes) the team of fourteen talented emerging and established artists will share a taste of what’s in store for patients in hospitals across Toronto. To prepare the team to work and perform in non-traditional spaces like hospital waiting rooms, “all the world’s a stage” as, true to form, the ensemble brings performs in numerous spaces, including a fully outfitted baseball diamond-as-stage. The ensemble will be joined by past alumni, who will share stories and experiences from previous seasons. Together, the ensemble and guests will explore the question: “How do we decide on home?” The night’s lineup includes works led by Stratford/Shaw regular Richard Beaune, Storefront Theatre Star Susan Lock (Director of Basket Day) Fringe superstars Ara Glenn-Johanson (director/creator of Flooded) and Alex Franks (The Ties That Bind And Gag). Featured artists includes a mix of film and theatre celebrities, including The Ponysitters Club’s Andrea Cabeza (Netflix/Discovery Kids) Sharmila Dey (Alice from Alice In Wonderland with Theatre Northwest) and Mark Kreder (Hugh in 4th Line Theatre’s Crow Hill: The Telephone Play) This powerhouse combination of artists promises to shake up Toronto’s definition of Shakespeare while providing a unique form of escape for the evening. Rounding out the night will be DJ SINergy and a silent auction, complete with the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the season. Grab a cheap drink and send these amazing artists off in style with some hearty well-wishes, all in the name of the Bard!
I had the chance to chat with some of the cast and creative team and discuss the importance of the Shakespeare in Hospitals Program.
What does being a part of the Shakespeare in Hospitals Program mean to you?
Mark: It means the world! I’ve never done anything quite like this before. It’s work that is exciting and challenging. Also, a lot of my family work in medicine so this is kind of my way of being a part of the family business.
Katerina: It means a lot to me to be a part of this project because of the opportunity to do theatre in a nontraditional setting and working through those challenges, it’s a great learning experience and it’s really exciting. It’s also one of my first projects since graduating from theatre school so that’s really special too.
Cora: It means… I am finding a way to combine everything I want to do together, in one. Theatre and wellness. It means I am acting and getting to do what I love to do, near daily, with a group of seriously fabulous actors and directors. But it also means I am helping those who find themselves in some way inaccessible to what most of us take for granted, being an advocate for health (both mental and physical), promoting equality, and – most important – allowing one to feel. There was a time when I had to spend a large chunk of time in a hospital, and so it means a lot to me personally to be bringing back to the community what I wished was brought to me.
Sharmila: Being a part of the Shakespeare in Hospitals means I get an opportunity to interact with patients in a creative and hopefully entertaining way. It means bringing some distraction or change of pace to people who may really need it.
What are you most excited about?
Mark: Private room performances. One of my dream jobs is working as a therapeutic clown in hospitals and I feel like I’ll get a taste of what that’s like performing in private rooms.
Cora: I’m excited about the surprises. They are going to challenge me in a way an artist rarely gets to be challenged. I think I am going to learn a lot about myself, how I react in certain situations… and also how well I know my lines!
Sharmila: am most excited about seeing how all of this comes together. There are so many moving parts that I can’t wait to see what the final result is.
What has it been like working with Spur-of-the moment?
Mark: It’s been so much fun. We have such a great group of artists and everyone is a joy to work with. There’s something satisfying about getting the first chance to work on a script. Discovering the story and the relationships have been a blast. I can’t wait until we start performing!
Katerina: The best part about working with Spur is the people and the collaboration. We’re really building something together and it’s super fun.
Cora: It’s been so awesome. The directors that we have are amazing. I’ve loved working with each one (though sadly I haven’t had a chance to work much with Richard Beaune) and have found everyone to be 100% willing, respectful and encouraging. This is a very physical and devised project, meaning we are finding and creating images together from the ground up. We are using our bodies to gather the feelings we want to convey – this is the kind of work I love. That sort of project that you can really look back on and say – ya… we made that.
Sharmila: It has been wonderful working with Spur-of-the-moment. I am so impressed with how the script has come together and am constantly in awe of the other members’ talents and skills.
Shakespeare in Hospitals is an amazing and important program that brings joy to bedsides around the city and Spur throws a great party to boot! So come out and support a great cause and have a fun evening with past and present Spur alum!
The Shakespeare-In-Hospitals Home-Opener at the Collective Space (221 Sterling Rd.) Pay-What-You-Want admission ($10 suggested)Doors are at 7, show at 8 and ribbon cutting at 9:45 All proceeds go toward the Shakespeare-In-Hospitals 2018 Program https://www.facebook.com/events/2173685366177882/?ti=as