Rare (Diverse Creations) 2012 Toronto Fringe Review

Rare - Toronto Fringe 2012

Judith Thompson wrote and directed Rare, the documentary-drama about Down syndrome that opened Thursday as part of the Fringe Festival.

The audience loved the show. We literally rose to our feet all together for a standing ovation as if it had been choreographed.  There was a loud curtain call and there would have been more but the house lights came up – the universal signal for “show’s over folks”.

Rare is an amazing show. The nine-member cast – Sarah Carney, Dylan Harman, James Hazlett, Nick Herd, Suzanne Love, Mike Liu, Nada Mayla, Krystal Nausbaum, and Andreas Prinz – all have Down syndrome. Some of them have acted before, some of them haven’t.

I spoke with a woman afterward who said she didn’t enjoy it because it reminded her of elementary school plays and that she hated them when she had to go to them. I can understand her reaction.

For me though, it wasn’t about the quality of the acting. I loved the way the cast was completely present, the way they worked together and cared for each other. The energy was amazing.

We learned about each person in snippets, every snippet added another layer to their stories. They told us about their hopes and dreams, about what it felt like to be them and about how people treated them.

One of the most moving moments was when Krystal addressed pregnant women asking them not to terminate their pregnancies if they find out that the baby they’re carrying has Down syndrome.

Go see Rare. Take tissues.


  • Rare plays at Venue 1 – Tarragon Mainspace (30 Bridgman Ave.)
  • Showtimes are  July 05 10:30 PM, July 07 03:30 PM, July 08 08:15 PM, July 09 06:15 PM, July 10 08:45 PM, July 13 07:00 PM, July 14 02:15 PM
  • All individual Fringe tickets are $10 at the door (cash only). Tickets are also available online at www.fringetoronto.com, by phone at 416-966-1062, or in person at The Randolph Centre for the Arts, 736 Bathurst Street (Advance tickets are $11 – $9+$2 service charge)
  • Value packs are available if you plan to see at least 5 shows

3 thoughts on “Rare (Diverse Creations) 2012 Toronto Fringe Review”

  1. RARE was not written by Judith Thompson. The script was facilitated by Judith, who asked the cast to talk about or write about certain topics ie: what do you really love? or “if you could tell the world one important thing about yourself, what would that be? The CAST wrote their own stories about themselves. All of the words, songs, letteres etc are their own (with exception of the shakespeare and emily dickinson poetry). Judith then edited / sculpted their own words into a a 50 minute piece which she Directed. it is writeen by the performers. their own stories in their own words. I know, i stagemanaged it.

  2. I realize that I wasn’t clear in the review. I knew that the cast were telling their own stories. It would have been more accurate to say that Judith curated and edited the piece.

  3. I was so fortunate to unexpectedly attend a performance of Rare on Sunday,July 8 and I was mesmerized by the talent of the cast. I have been raving to everyone who will listen to me about how the performers transform the myths and stereotypes that attendees may have about individuals who are gifted with Down syndrome.

    My sincere hope is that this talented theatre company will be able to travel across Canada, the US, and abroad to present their amazing work.

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