PuSh Executive Director on Premiere of Monday Nights
February 06, 2020
Monday Nights opens tonight. So excited to be there to celebrate. In 2014, I wrote a note for the program that spoke to how important the show was to me.
By: Franco Boni
I was always one of the tallest kids in the class throughout elementary school, so I usually got picked first or second to play on the sports team in gym class. I was on the basketball team, the high jump team and I even became the captain of the volleyball team. My secret weapon in volleyball was my serve. Though erratic, it was sharp and often unbreakable. My nickname: The Striker. (Isn’t that a gay porn star too?)
Today, I only have a vague recollection of the names and faces of the boys on my team, however, I can still tell you exactly what being on that team felt like. As captain I needed to make sure the team played as one and to their personal strengths. I felt a sense of responsibility to keep the team working together – focused on the goal of winning, and when we lost, which was often, it was key to focus on what we learned. I wasn’t the best player on the court, but as captain, I had another role to play.
When I got to high school, things changed. I desperately wanted to play on a sports team, but the guys got more aggressive, the teachers were looking to find star players and suddenly there was less room for a queer boy like me to participate in the game. Music and drama class were more accepting of difference, and suddenly a new group of friendships developed. I never looked back… until…
In 2010, I was invited to see an early showing of what has since become Monday Nights. In that moment, it all came flooding back to me – the strong bonds, the ‘bromance’, and of course the thrill of the game. I immediately fell in love with the idea of supporting a performance piece about basketball! The show premiered in 2014 in the inaugural season of The Theatre Centre at 1115 Queen Street West, and played at last year’s Luminato Festival. Proud to have these folks in my new home at the PuSh Festival in partnership with the Anvil Centre.
I am so profoundly moved by this work and these men – their kindness, enthusiasm, and commitment to each other throughout this process has changed me.
Franco Boni is the Executive & Artistic Director of the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival. He is a recognized cultural innovator, facilitator and community builder with a demonstrated track record of artistic credibility and financial acumen. He has served as Artistic Director of The Theatre Centre in Toronto since 2003, and has been a fixture on Canada’s arts and festival scene for more than two decades.
— (Show photo by Taku Kumabe)
— (Boni photo by Alex Elms)