Student-run Theatre Production Explores Holistic Care

Feb 24, 2017
Dan Haves

Students perform in Daffydil 2017 Lily Wang, 2T0 medical student

Daffydil, one of the longest-standing traditions at U of T, hit the stage this week at Hart House.  Now in its 106th year, Daffydil 2017 continues to highlight the creative talents of students in the Faculty of Medicine with its production of Dr. Gabe and the Ward of Wonders (February 22-25 at Hart House Theatre). All proceeds from Daffydil support the Canadian Cancer Society, with more than $600,000 raised since it was established. Director Sabina Freiman spoke with Faculty of Medicine writer Dan Haves to share her experience with this year’s production.


What will the Daffydil 2017 experience be like?

Dr. Gabe and the Ward of Wonders manages to balance being magical and real with one storyline. First, the magical. This year you won't be visiting Internal Medicine – like in Daffydil 2016 – but rather wards that represent what we think medicine should start to focus more on to provide more holistic care, both for patients and doctors alike. Then, the real. Our writers wanted to push for greater diversity in the identities represented in our musical, to better reflect our class and society as a whole. We also wanted to push our viewers to reflect on what they believe makes a great physician as they follow the students and Dr. Gabe through their ups and downs.

Why did you decide to get involved with Daffydil?

I went to U of T for my undergrad, and heard the name Daffydil floating around every February. While I didn't end up attending any of the shows, when I came to U of T Medicine I was familiar with the production. I had never directed or been in a musical before (save for some stage crew roles in high school), but my undergrad extra-curriculars tended to be a good mix of the artistic with the science. I like to have a creative outlet alongside my scientific education.

That being said, I think my biggest motivator was to find my group, my home, my family, within the larger class…and find it I did! I loved the idea of being Assistant Director last year because it allowed me to be involved with every corner of the production – writing, selecting songs, attending rehearsals, blocking scenes. And while I was unsure if I could pull off being Director, I could not imagine my second year without my Daffy fam.

What’s it like working with your fellow medical students to create this production?

Honestly, it's unreal. This show started off with just five of us last summer: the producers – Patricia Marks and Carly Vistenin –  the writers – Gaurav SharmaStephen Szeto and myself –  trying to agree on a story that satisfied what everyone wanted out of the musical. I have never met such a hardworking and dedicated group, and I am so grateful that they put their faith into the production. Their efforts made the show the Broadway-worthy spectacle it is now.

Saturday night will be my last time seeing this show, and although I have read the script and seen the scenes more than anyone, I know the performers and musicians will make me find new ways to fall in love with it like it's my first time watching. While I know that the Daffy withdrawal will hit me hard next week, I also know there will be over 70 students sharing that feeling with me, and let's just say it was worth it. 

Tickets for Daffydil 2017 can be purchased through Hart House tickets.

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