This is part of an ongoing series of regional Shakespeare coverage. It’s Tori here with the latest in Shakespeare news from Toronto.
Spur of the Moment Shakespeare Collective started their 2015-16 season with their lively, fun, and emotionally rich Shakespeare-In-Hospitals Cabaret on September 24 and 25. The show consisted of several scenes from Shakespeare’s canon that exemplified Spur’s theme of exploring what makes someone human. Victoria Urquhart, the artistic director of Spur, began the evening by telling the audience how important the Shakespeare-In-Hospitals project is–asking the audience to imagine a hospital setting, and how impactful this work could be to those in hospital beds, waiting rooms, senior’s homes, etc. Due to the nature of the performances, the actors were presenting in these settings and the cabaret scenes staged simply, but the emotional depth and the incredibly smooth transitions between scenes and characters was so seamless that it led to incredibly complex and meaningful performances. The scenes explored themes of love, fear, resilience, bravery, and countless others that deeply resonated with the audience. I can only imagine how deeply these themes would resonate with those in hospital settings facing such complicated emotions in their own lives. I firmly believe that these scenes when performed in hospitals, waiting rooms, etc., will provide a mirror to these audiences own conditions, and will give them strength by making them feel they are not alone in their struggle.
The scenes were interspersed throughout the night with stories from former members of the Shakespeare-In-Hospitals program, who shared their favourite moments: the ones that really resonated with them, and the moments that drove home the message that the program was trying to achieve. One participant talked about a mute man who indicated that he wanted to see several scenes, became emotionally overcome by the end of the series, and was able to utter “bravo.” It is moments like these that demonstrate the incredible impact this program has on both audiences and participants, as well as the power of theatre itself to transform lives. Spur of the Moment will be holding an end of year show in December, when they will once again share scenes and stories about their experiences performing for those who do not have access or the ability to attend theatre. I strongly encourage you to come out and support the incredible work Spur is doing.
You can also support Spur of the Moment Shakespeare Collective by attending one of their five remaining Shakespeare Intensives. On October 17th, James Wallis of Shakespeare Bash’d, who directed many of the scenes Spur will be performing this year, will be leading “Building Principles of Shakespeare from 6-10 p.m. On October 25th, Erika Downy, also a director for Spur, from Seven Siblings Theatre, will be leading “Shakespeare and Chekhov” from 12-4 p.m. Andrew Joseph Richardson, of Shakespeare in the Ruff and the dramaturge for Spur this season, leads “Auditioning Shakespeare” on November 3rd from 12-3 p.m. Ali Joy Richardson, who is also directing for Spur this season, will lead “Classical Text and Collaborative Creation” on November 23rd from 6-10 p.m. And Dauntless City Theatre’s Scott Emerson Moyle will lead “Play in a Day” on December 3rd from 2-8 p.m. All the classes cost $100 (or, if you sign up for three, $265). All the proceeds will go to helping further the Shakespeare In-Hospitals program.
If acting is not your thing, you can also support Spur through their Indiegogo campaign. Check here for more details, as well as their website for everything you need to know about this incredible and inspiring collective.