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As a performer, Horak had to face the fear that a risky subject of personifying cancer could fall flat with the audience.
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was a bunch of comedians on the bill that night and they all freaked out and said that I would get the shit kicked out of me pardon my French, he said.
That night in Toronto, however, Horak took an illness and transformed it into a star.
Going on almost three years of performances, This is Cancer? has prompted waves of split personality responses from audience members.
illness. like a disrespect or something, there not a dignity to it, said Horak.
response from the audience was just amazing, I had people coming up to me and saying they had just come out of chemotherapy, or that they had just lost a parent and that they had finally been able to laugh at cancer, said Horak.
my own fear and confronting something was really an opportunity for the audience to share that. character was born, and soon, with the collaboration of director Rebecca Northan, Cancer was drafted into its own one man show.
Laughing at cancer
The idea of performing as cancer incarnate first surfaced when the Toronto based performer was playing in a clown show as a grotesque demon who had come up from hell to try and seduce an audience member.
The Toronto performer was diagnosed with cancer of the eye at a very Gucci Crossbody Black young age, forcing his right eye to be removed and losing most of the vision in his left. While cancer free today, Horak is legally blind.
Cancer believes he is loved, and yet the world obviously hates him, said Horak.
And just five years ago, he lost his father to cancer.
Cancer? is definitely humourous.
big part of how the character is designed is that it is absurd, and it gives the audience permission to laugh. notes that his show addresses a subject that, although hugely prevalent in society, is still very taboo to mention.
The Calgary Herald described the personality of Cancer as a cross between Austin Powers and Dean Martin.
laughed and cried . I have never experienced anything quite like it, read one anonymous online comment.
arrogance and egotistical nature that Cancer has is funny, because we juxtaposing two different ideas, in that Gucci Belt Bag Pink
never talked about cancer, we never said the word; it was always whispered, it was always hushed even though so many people were getting it nobody was talking about it, older audience members have told Horak following his show.
In a sense, This is Cancer? presents a more grounded and personable image of the illness, removing it of its spectral horror.
Horak costume for the character is big in lumps and bumps, of grotesque but in a cuddly sort of way, said Horak.
Before a performance, Horak was told that he needed to change the character name.
Horak summed up the typical audience response.
Just gaze at any obituary section of a newspaper, and cancer deaths will often be described only as a Gucci Wallet Chain
first it was uncomfortable and disquieting, and then it was really funny, and then it like, I laughing at cancer, then you realize, I shouldn be laughing at that, and then there a another joke and you laughing again, said Horak.
Yet Horak remembered the words of one of his mentors; where the fear is. where real art and real truth is going to come and the best projects are going to come out of you facing your own fear, said Horak.
you imagine cancer to look like, this is not it, he said.
Cancer has also been a large part of Horak own life.
a push pull throughout the whole thing, said Horak.
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