My Second Smile (Theatre Bassaris)

C-words abound in Toronto’s Theatre Bassaris’ production of a one-man comedy about a fellow’s secret cancer struggle

I went into My Second Smile not knowing what to expect, other than that it was a one-man show. It turned out to be a one-man show about the c-word (cancer, to clear up any confusion for those with minds in the gutter) that was a really good time. Excellent comedic timing, acting and even dancing come together in this hour-long production about a 16 year old boy’s secret struggle with cancer.

With only Noah Spitzer on stage, the autobiographical writer of the show, he commands a large presence and really captivates the audience. This mostly funny production takes the audience on Noah’s journey from finding the cancerous thyroid on his neck, to swallowing a lead pill that forced him into a three day period of isolation (due to his radioactive nature), and to an eventual surgery to remove the tumor.

I liked how Noah was able to have such a light-hearted and funny take on such a serious time in his life. He was able to turn specific occurrences into what would be a Seth McFarlane-approved style of sketch comedy; the anecdote would start off serious and intense, and suddenly get to the point where Noah would be battling Jesus with a light saber.

As the show progressed, Noah became visibly more tired and exhausted (and rightfully so, with all his dancing and jumping around stage!) which mirrored his experiences as his body became more and run down from all of his hospital visits. It was a great visual that may not have been intended but that was effective nonetheless.

One thing that really struck me was that Noah’s experience was kept a secret for so long. He mentioned that most of his family members and friends had no idea what he was going through, not even his two younger siblings. In a Q&A after the show, he mentioned that some of the people who were seeing the play on its opening night had no idea what he’d gone through and that he was always curious to see what their reactions were.

I thought that this show was really enjoyable. It was the perfect length; it never felt boring or drawn out as some shows tend to be. And one of the things that I came away with was what a cool and brave person Noah was and what a fun guy he would be to have as a friend.


My Second Smile plays at the Factory Studio Theatre (125 Bathurst) until September 30, 2012
-The show runs from September 25 to September 30 with shows at 7:30pm and one 2:30pm Saturday matinee
-Ticket prices are $16.50
-Tickets are available at 416-504-9971 or online