Sunday, July 10, 2011

Cancer Can't Dance Like This

Today I went to check out Cancer Can't Dance Like This, a one-man play staged at the Tarragon Theatre as part of Toronto's Fringe Festival. It had been years since I've seen a Fringe Festival play. These plays always tend to be alternative, quriky, and "on the fringe" since they result from annual submissions from anybody. What an amazing performance! Acute Non - Hodgkin’s T - Lymphoblastic Lymphoma survivor Daniel Stolfi presented an amazing show! His selection of characters ranged from Bruise Portega (his male member), a testosterone-overloaded lady-loving lounge singer with tons of innuendo and unsatiable sex drive, to Capo Capelli (his hair), a sweet older barber with apologetic smiles and jokes that are only funny in Italian. Cancer Can't Dance Like This is a variety showcase of Stolfi's talent and the many "faces", characters which emerge from the cancer closet. Between these colourful personalities, Stolfi's own voice emerges through readings of his diary entries during treatment giving a sobering dose of reality-- this is cancer.

Cancer Can't Dance Like This - Joe Intro

At one point, I found myself laughing out loud when he said, "F*#$ Lance Armstrong" for setting the bar too high for cancer survivors by winning seven "Tour de France" competitions after his battle with testicular cancer. And just like me and several other thyroid cancer patients (as well as some lymphoma patients I've met), Daniel Stolzi was told that he had the best cancer. Imagine that given Stolzi had been hospitalized for over forty days and had undergone two years of chemotherapy. (Two years, people! Doesn't sound like an ideal cancer to me! And I really hate this "best cancer" bullshit.) Set to a soundtrack of disco, hip hop, and Michael Jackson pop, I truly identified with the use of music to tell the cancer story and was pleasantly surprised with the reprise of "Standing Tall", the theme song from the late 1980s/1990s television show, Perfect Strangers. I attended the event with two other young adult survivors, Raymund (leukemia-survivor) and Daniel (testicular cancer-survivor). They both related to this play as well. Raymund described it as sounding eerily similar to entries from his diary. I loved the play and think everyone should see it. I applaud Daniel Stolzi for taking his cancer experience and turning it into an opportunity to express himself creatively and with humour, share his story with survivors and the public. Check it out at Toronto's Fringe Festival from July 6 to 17, 2011.

Arriving at the Tarragon Theatre in Toronto, there are a lot of folks waiting to get in.

Daniel (facilitator of young adult cancer group at Gilda's Club), Raymund, and I enjoyed the play. I am wearing my Rasta colours (red, yellow, green) since I planned to go to my second day of Afrofest right afterwards.

Daniel, me, actor Daniel Stolfi, and Raymund.

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