Thursday, July 19, 2012

Play about Down syndrome extended

Last Friday, I was lucky enough to see Judith Thompson’s play RARE staged in Toronto. It was equal parts hilarious and uplifting, moving and devastating. Through their stories, the actors’ voices and experiences came alive onstage.  Photo by John Gundy.

RARE, a Toronto Fringe Festival play starring nine adult actors with Down syndrome, will return briefly to the stage in August. After being staged in July as a part of the regular Fringe Festival, the show has been selected as one of eight best-of-Fringe plays to run repeat performances.

In RARE, actors tell their real-life stories, sharing their fears, desires and perceptions of disability. No subjects are censored, with performers exploring topics like death, sexuality, and their simultaneous hatred of and pride in their own disabilities.

Cast members, like Dylan Harman, hope that the play’s frank discussions will prompt audiences to re-evaluate their treatment of individuals with developmental disabilities.

“I hope they will learn to speak to people with disabilities like adults,” he says. “Because we’re human too.”

For other cast members, the play functioned as a personal growing experience. Actress Krystal Nausbaum, who performed in the American film The Memory Keeper's Daughter, says that working in RARE was uniquely rewarding.

“It’s really different than other plays…,”she says. “I can relate to these stories.”

RARE will be staged August 1-3 at the Toronto Centre for the Arts. Tickets are available online through Ticketmaster, or at the centre’s box office. 

Story by: Megan Jones


Thanks so much for sharing your experience at RARE. I definitely want to see it in August and am thrilled that it's being extended.