In the Spotlight:
Shaina Silver-Baird from In Seven Days
Shaina Silver-Baird in IN SEVEN DAYS. Styled by Sean Mulcahy. Photo by Dahlia Katz.
What would you do if your loved one decided to leave you? Jordi Mand’s In Seven Days explores this very question in a world premiere co-production with the Harold Green Jewish Theatre Company. From February 13 to March 2, the Grand Theatre’s production of In Seven Days presents a story about loss, religion and family. The play joins a London, Ontario Jewish family that has just learned that in seven days their father, Sam, has decided to end his life via medically-assisted death. In this exclusive Q&A, we are joined by Shaina Silver-Baird who plays Rachel, the daughter, in this powerful new work. Shaina dives deep into her experience as Rachel in this emotionally-charged story, providing her insights on the contentious and universal topic discussed in the play.
- If you could only use three words, or phrases, to describe In Seven Days, what would they be?
Hilarity, heartbreak, love.
- Why is this play so important in exploring the conflation of medical philosophies (specifically, medically assisted death) with the cultural values of a family?
This play is important because it humanizes and validates many different opinions and emotional experiences related to medically-assisted death. Every character in the show feels differently about the argument. And the play allows them all to have their say and have their experience. It really humanizes why someone would choose MAID (medical assistance in dying) and also presents why that choice is hard to accept for the people who love them.
- How do you find yourself similar to your character, Rachel?
I instantly related to Rachel in a number of ways. She's a very logical, intelligent woman and like her, I like to make sense of my world through reason and logic. We both have a very strong will - once she decides to fight for something there's no deterring her and I'm the same. On the surface, we're both Jewish women in our 30s and both lost a parent at a young age. I find her inspiring because she allows herself to be so human. She makes mistakes and isn't concerned with being polite to everyone around her. I admire that.
- What is the most challenging part of playing Rachel?
That dogged will is exhausting to inhabit! Because she's fighting to achieve her goal (convincing her father not to go through with MAID), she is driving the energy of much of this play and that is a lot of emotional, intellectual and physical output.
- What is your favourite part of playing Rachel?
Acting with the other actors in this show. They are exceptional.
- What was your initial impression of the play after reading the script?
My first thought after reading the play was "I have to do this show." I felt like Jordi had reached into my heart and mind and wrote a play that specifically tackled so many of my own fears, thoughts and dreams. Which just goes to show the universality of so many of our experiences.
- What do you think audiences will leave the theatre thinking or feeling after they see the play?
I think they'll feel a profound connection to love. That may sound schmaltzy but I don't mean it in that way. I mean an appreciation and deep recognition of the complexities of love. They will feel with a capital F. Not all shows succeed in that, but this one certainly will.
- The play begins with an argument between Rachel and Shelley about the merits of poppyseed vs. sesame seed bagels. In your opinion, which bagel is best?
Sesame. Shelley is correct.
- Why should Londoners see this show?
Because it is one of the best scripts I've ever read and we have an absolutely stellar cast and creative team.
In Seven Days plays February 13 to March 2 on the Grand Theatre Spriet Stage. For tickets, information about enhancing your experience, and other behind-the-scenes moments, click here.