Vitals - MGW1

Mary Grace Weir produced, directed and starred in Vitals at The Shadowbox Theatre in Windsor.

Mary Grace Weir delivered a tour-de-force performance in the one-woman play “Vitals” at Windsor’s intimate Shadowbox Theatre. Written by Canadian playwright Rosamund Small, the show offers a raw, unfiltered look into the life of a Toronto paramedic named Anna as she navigates the intense physical and emotional demands of her job as a first responder.

Weir fully embodied the role of Anna, capturing the character’s passion, grit and underlying vulnerability with nuance and authenticity. Through Weir’s stellar acting, the audience was transported into the mind of a paramedic on the front lines – experiencing the adrenaline rushes, the heartbreaks, the gallows humor, and the psychological toll of being immersed in trauma day in and day out.


The play, based on interviews with real EMS workers, pulls no punches in depicting the disturbing realities that paramedics face in their line of work. Some scenes are undeniably heavy, with graphic descriptions of suicide, assault, and other human tragedies that Anna encounters on the job. However, Weir’s performance and Small’s insightful writing balance the darkness with glimmers of hope and humanity.

As both the director and producer of this staging, Weir demonstrated remarkable command of her craft. The minimalist set and lighting design kept the focus on Weir’s gripping performance. Her pacing and emotional arc over the 90-minute runtime were masterfully calibrated – she held the audience in rapt attention from start to finish.

While a one-person show of this nature could easily become monotonous, Weir injected the monologues with dynamism and variety. She seamlessly transitioned between moments of frenetic intensity, sombre reflection, and wry humor, creating a well-rounded portrait of a complex woman under extreme duress.

The play’s themes of compassion fatigue and the lack of mental health support for first responders felt extremely relevant and urgent. By shining a light on the often-overlooked struggles of paramedics, “Vitals” serves as a wake-up call for society to better care for the caregivers in our midst. Weir’s decision to donate a portion of ticket sales to We Help First, an organization supporting mental health services for first responders, further underscores the importance of these issues.

One of the most impactful elements of the production was the post-show talkback session with real first responders. Hearing their personal stories and reflections added even more depth and poignancy to the play’s message. It was a moving reminder of the real human beings behind the uniform and the need for greater empathy and support for these everyday heroes.

“Vitals” is not an easy watch, but it is an undeniably important one. While some may find the content too intense, the play’s unflinching honesty is precisely what makes it so powerful. Weir’s bravura performance, combined with Small’s insightful script, left a deep impression that will linger long after the curtain call.

In a time when front-line workers have been pushed to the brink, even years after the pandemic – on top of already demanding jobs, “Vitals” feels like essential viewing. It is a clarion call for compassion – both for our first responders and for one another. Weir deserves immense praise for her acting prowess as well as her efforts to bring this story to the stage and spark crucial conversations.

While “Vitals” may not be a lighthearted night at the theatre, it is a profound piece of art that showcases the potential of live performance to move, educate and inspire change. Weir’s herculean performance is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit in the face of unimaginable challenges. This is a play, and a production, that demands to be seen and felt. Bravo to Mary Grace Weir and the entire creative team for this visceral, vital work of theatre.

The powerful one-woman show “Vitals” has its final performance on Saturday, March 18th at the Shadowbox Theatre located at 1501 Howard Ave in Windsor. These will be the last chance to experience Mary Grace Weir’s tour-de-force performance as paramedic Anna. With a portion of the $25 ticket sales supporting the mental health organization We Help First, audiences have the opportunity to see this vital, visceral piece of theatre while also contributing to an important cause for first responders.


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