Review: SPACIOUSNESS at Fort York with Toronto History Museums in Partnership with Soulpepper Theatre

Take an interactive tour of Toronto's historical Fort York with live actors serving as your guide

By: Sep. 27, 2023
Review: SPACIOUSNESS at Fort York with Toronto History Museums in Partnership with Soulpepper Theatre
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Spaciousness welcomes the audience to experience Toronto’s historic Fort York in a unique and interactive way. Actors portray fictional yet historically accurate characters of everyday people immediately affected by the War of 1812 of which battles were fought on the grounds of Fort York. Written by Ahmed Moneka and Nicky Lawrence, Spaciousness asks the audience to consider the ramifications of conflict and the price for peace.

Spaciousness begins with Ahmed Moneka addressing the audience as a survivor of modern war, three wars, to be exact when one is one too many. From there, the crowd is led to the various buildings on the grounds. For many, their first time seeing these interiors. Inside, a character lingers like a ghost from the past waiting for souls to listen to their stories. We learn about everyday people, people of colour, Indigenous people wrapped up fighting and losing their lives in a battle on their stolen land, sons who fought valiantly, mothers who lost their sons, men and women who lost their rights and their homes after their usefulness was deemed spent.

Dillan Chiblow as Miskwaaki (William Yellowhead) resonated greatly with the audience as his story was deeply moving. An Indigenous son who painted his face and joined his father, a Chief, in battle, to ultimately watch his father fall to musket fire, the tension was palpable. Hearing him sing in mourning, his voice soaring to the rafters and reverberating in our spines, it was truly breathtaking. As were the stories of Nicky Lawrence as Emma Jones, a Black mother who fearfully and courageously watched her son depart for battle and then bearing witness to her grief when her greatest fear came through, and Rudy Ray Kwaku as Private William Jones, whose sorrowful trumpet echoed his tale of trench warfare. 

Time is running out to witness this truly unique theatrical experience for yourself as Spaciousness runs until October 7 2023. Be prepared to walk and stand, though accommodations are available by request, through rain or shine through this 90-minute performance that you surely won’t want to miss.

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