Mar. 30, 2011 - Issue #806 : Insidious
Rick: The Rick Hansen Story looks at the early days of an underdog
But Hansen survived, and his tale is up there with the best of the underdog-overcomes stories: he graduated from the University of British Columbia and became a world-class wheelchair marathoner and Paralympic athlete, winning a trio of gold medals in the 1980 and '84 Paralympic games. Inspired by Terry Fox's Marathon of Hope, he later embarked on his own Man in Motion world tour, making a 26-month long trek across 34 countries on four continents to raise money for spinal cord injury research. He circled the world in a wheelchair, at a time when that was even more daunting than it would be today.
"This is a world now full of ramps; it wasn't in 1973," says Robb Paterson, director of Rick: The Rick Hansen Story, which explores the athlete's budding roots. A co-production of the Citadel's Robbins Family Series and Manitoba Theatre for Young People, it takes us through those formative years which laid both the hurdles and the seeds for greatness: the crash and its immediate aftermath.
Paterson calls it a tale of a friendship—though one tried and tested on both ends. The play's other main figure, Don, a friend who walked away from the same accident,without a physical scratch. The play makes particular use of multimedia (the production uses seven screens to transition rapidly and completely through locations) to explore that fractured friendship, and the eventual triumph over the guilt that distances them. As seems to be the benchmark for Hansen, the seemingly impossible was eventually overcome.
"There's some philosophies [Hansen]'s developed since the accident that have dictated the kind of man he is and how to live his life," Paterson notes. "One is that something like, 'The only thing that will get in the way of you following or achieving your dreams is you.' Here's a guy who broke his back, and he wanted to be a high school coach, and have a wife and two kids. He ended up raising awareness for spinal cord injuries and changing the world." V
Sat, Apr 2 ; TUE, APR 5; SAT, APR 9 (7:30 pm)
SUN, APR 3 & SUN, APR 10 (1:30 pm)
Rick: The Rick Hansen Story
Written by Dennis Foon
Directed by Robb Paterson
Citadel Theatre (9828 - 101A Ave)
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