Have you ever heard about a play that involved astrology (I mean, besides Romeo & Juliet which is a reference I used to come up with my website)? I was completely hooked when I found out from my friend Carly Boyce. Boyce is a Tarot Reader was helping out with fundraising for an upcoming play written by Astrologer Shaunga Tagore. I checked out their party and preview performance at the Gladstone Hotel, and had the chance to ask Gemini Shaunga about her upcoming show.
Tell me about Letters to the Universe, what is it about?
Letters to the Universe is a play about survivors, ancestors, astrology, family, and curious twin spirits like grief and joy, life and death, madness and magic. It is a brown femme “superqueero’s” journey through alternate dimensions, the underworld, and into the heights and hopes of the galaxies. It’s a dream, belief, and journey toward unapologetic self-love that can fill the entire universe. ‘Letters’ is made of an all QTBIPOC cast (Queer, Trans, Black, Indigenous, People of Colour) everyone in the crew/production team are Queer and/or Trans and/or genderqueer; the majority being BIPOC. The play interweaves multiple genres including theatre, dance, poetry, projection, and song.
What inspired you to write this Letters to the Universe?
This show is heavily based on my own life stories and experiences with my family, mental health, being a survivor, childhood and intergenerational trauma, my memories, stories and resilience I’ve inherited from my ancestors, my fraught but ever so important relationship to spirituality, the spirit realm, my own magic and my struggles & commitment to self-worth, empowerment, individual and collective change.
Who is performing in Letters to the Universe?
I play the lead character, The Storyteller. There are a number of supporting characters who play my epic and complicated Spirit Guides, including Anabel Khoo as Premonition, Sze-Yang Ade-Lam as The Warrior, Miranda Warner as The Healer, Robin Akimbo as The Conjurer, Ravyn Wngz as The Siren, and Shadrack Jackman as The Star.
When and where will it be held?
We are doing a 4-day workshop performance run at The Theatre Centre from September 14-17 2017. Last year we did a 1-night workshop showing of the play for the 1st time at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre. This year we received some funding from the Toronto Arts Council to develop the play further. We are really focusing on delving deeper into the relationships between the characters and tightening up the script. We’re really excited to show everyone what we’ve been working with in September – it’s already proving to be an epic show and it’s only going to get better during our July-August rehearsal period. After 2017 the sky is the limit. I have dreams of creating original music for this play and showing it on an even bigger stage for a longer run.
How did you get interested in Astrology?
As a pre-teen, I loved reading about astrology for fun and talking about it with my friends. It wasn’t until my mid-20s, when I was going through a serious life crisis, that I turned to astrology again for direction, insight, and healing. Since then I got obsessed with it. I started studying how to read birth charts with a mentor, and from there it was a natural progression that I began practicing it professionally. As a kid I grew up disconnected from any kind of religion or sense of spirituality; even though I know now that this is probably the most important thing I need to feel like myself in the world – a connection to spirit and something bigger than me. I didn’t have access to that as a kid for a lot of reasons including early experiences of racism, displacement, etc. Astrology, along with tarot, and other forms of magic and divination, have been very important avenues I’ve used to access this part of myself.
What do you do full time?
I am an astrologer full-time! I love sharing my knowledge of this complex and beautiful language with others, as a way to support people’s healing, empowerment, and self-love. I also do tarot readings and creative coaching and am currently accepting new clients. You can find out more on my website www.shaungatagore.com.
Could you please explain the difference between Heart work, Soul work and Spirit work?
Interesting question! For me, Soul work and Spirit work are on a similar continuum – this is about connecting to our core life path, our purpose, the thing that makes us want to be alive and shine our most brightly. The stuff that gives us energy and passion. This is the element of Fire in astrology. Heart work, the element of Water is all about feelings and emotion. How do we give ourselves what we need in any circumstance, validate and understand what hurts us and what we need to heal. Mind work (Air) is about connecting to clarity, how we communicate, examining/transforming our stories and beliefs and how those inform our actions. Earthwork is body work – giving our bodies what they need, connecting to body knowledge, feeding ourselves practically, financially, with actual food.