Lights, Camera, Action: Cabaret Puts The Spotlight On The Fight Against Cancer

March. Who could possibly enjoy this month? It’s (still) snowing, and the cold grey permeates the warmth of every indoor space. Students are barraged with case comments and papers, and the prospect of final exams looms ever closer as we inch through this long, harsh month. We are caught up in the readings we haven’t done all semester, the papers we haven’t started, and the anticipation for what’s to come after those worries are out of the way – a summer job, travelling, or writing (and passing!) the bar. But if you were to ask me…this may actually be my favourite time of the Queen’s Law school year. Why? Cabaret for a Cure, of course.

If you haven’t attended Cabaret before, let me set the scene for you. There’s chatter across the audience, and the lights are bright. You can feel the nerves, the electricity of excitement as soon as you enter the Grand Theatre. Taking your seat, you look at the program in front of you and wonder: what, exactly, am I in for tonight?

Meanwhile, chaos reigns backstage. Makeup is applied and reapplied, dance moves are replayed and rejigged. The Bay Street Boys are adjusting their costumes (or lack thereof) and someone, SOMEWHERE, is yelling about fashion line formations. If you, a member of the audience, found yourself in one of the dressing rooms, you would have to remind yourself that these are not, in fact, members of New York’s Broadway elite, nor is this Fashion Week – rather, this is a show run entirely by the efforts of Queen’s Law students.

And suddenly – the lights dim, the crowd grows silent, and the biggest night of the year begins.

I’m not going to spoil the show for you. As can be expected (because we at Queen’s Law are a talented bunch), this year’s entertainment will be fantastic and fast-paced. But that’s not all that Cabaret is about.

Let’s rewind a couple of months, to the point where you or your friends signed away your weeknights. Those of us involved in Cabaret have devoted that time to learning a dance, meeting new people, and building something really incredible for not only our community, but a bigger cause as well. Putting together a production like Cabaret is no easy feat and like everything else, it is a journey – anyone dancing on stage for the first time will tell you that. There is, however, no tougher journey than the one hundreds of thousands of Canadians in just one year embark on when they receive a cancer diagnosis.

On its website, the Canadian Cancer Society organizes its “Cancer Information” section according to the progression of disease. It addresses issues like dealing with a recent diagnosis, talking about the disease, managing treatment with a diverse healthcare team, to living with cancer, and living after cancer. For those who may not come back from their journey is a section devoted to dealing with a terminal diagnosis. There’s a timeline to living with cancer, but the milestones of progression shift and change shape, and the end of that journey is rarely easy to see.

However, in all stages of illness, the Canadian Cancer Society highlights a source of hope: community. In every context, it’s difficult to ask for help – we’ve been trained to believe that needing others is a sign of weakness. While an individual’s fight against cancer is deeply personal, the truth is that it is difficult to beat the illness alone. Whether one’s support team is made up of friends, family, or support workers, nobody living with cancer should have to fight it on their own. That’s why Queen’s Law comes together every March to raise awareness, raise funds, and fight back against the disease that has affected each of us in some way – we can’t do it alone. Together, we raised over $18,000 in donations to the Canadian Cancer Society at Cabaret 2016. Together, the efforts of students, sponsors, and faculty have created this year’s amazing show – it will make you laugh, cry, and dance in your seat. Together, Queen’s Law stands up for the fight against cancer.

If you believe that our Queen’s Law spirit has faded over the past few months, reconsider this thought after you attend Cabaret tomorrow night. Whether you’ve got two months or two years of your time at Queen’s Law left, Cabaret will remind you to cherish the time you have and the people around you, because this event is proof of a community’s power – our power – to spark change. Let’s put the spotlight on the fight against cancer tomorrow night.

Written by Pavan Virdee

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