November 30 will mark Hazel McCallion’s last day in office after 36 years of being Mississauga’s esteemed mayor. Watching McCallion mingling and taking selfies with students after the show She Shoots! She Scores!, I concluded that all the arm-twisting she has done between Ottawa and Queen’s Park has been a fountain of energy (rather than a sponge). McCallion has been especially involved in the growth and expansion of UTM: walk past the library and she is the learning centre’s namesake.
The evening began with a performance in CCT1080 by eight very talented Theatre and Drama Studies students. The show told the story of McCallion’s travels from the Gaspe to Toronto to Streetsville, where she first became mayor and began lobbying for the creation of the city of Mississauga. The guests were entertained with four music and dance numbers, two of which were composed specifically for She Shoots! She Scores! by Patrick Young and Anthony Bastianon. The lively and energetic songs were interspersed with scenes based on the premise of a drama workshop on Hurricane Hazel, in which the students and their professor re-enact memorable moments from McCallion’s time in office and play a trivia game. The only student who takes any convincing when it comes to enthusiastic participation is Stuart Hefford, who ended up in this workshop by mistake; he thought he was attending a meteorology lecture.
After the performance, Young, who wrote the book for She Shoots! She Scores! and is the artistic director of Theatre Erindale, thanked the extensive cast, musicians, crew, and support team for the production. Young made it look easy, but after speaking with him at the reception, I learned just how much work, time, and research goes into creating a show like She Shoots! She Scores! While Young wrote most of the script, he also told me that much was left up to the cast. Parts of the play were “something [he couldn’t] write”, which lead to the opportunity for the director and actors to contribute to the script.
Principal Deep Saini also spoke immediately after the performance, calling it “wonderful” before speaking about the university’s close relationship to McCallion, whom he then introduced to the audience.
McCallion’s speech focused on Mississauga’s youth. “I can’t think of any event as touching as this one,” she commented. “When the young people do something, it always touches me.”
The reception with drinks and snacks afterwards was beautifully presented and well-attended. I took the opportunity to speak with the director of She Shoots! She Scores!, herself a graduate of the joint UTM/Sheridan Theatre and Drama Studies program.
Melissa Jane Shaw described the rehearsal process: ideally, she said, a show will see one hour rehearsal per minute of show time. In this case, though, the 35-minute performance was brought about after only eight hours of rehearsal. This was especially restricted by the various music and dance requirements, which take more effort to choreograph and perfect than other scenes. Shaw expressed her gratitude for the hard work the whole team put in. “I’m proud of them,” she said.
Fourth-year TDS student and cast member Brittany Miranda echoed Shaw’s sentiments. From the cast’s perspective, She Shoots! She Scores! was a very positive experience, she said, in which everyone was dedicated to their work even outside of rehearsal time.
She Shoots! She Scores! was a successful parting gift and expression of gratitude to Hazel McCallion. It may be true that we’re seeing McCallion’s final days in office, but definitely not the end of her influence on this campus.