The Book of My Shames

Written and performed by Isaiah Bell | co-created and directed by Sean Guist

May 12, 2023 7:30pm

May 13, 2023 7:30pm

May 14, 2023 4:00pm

Venue Baumann Centre

Duration 1hr

This insightful and tender exploration of life’s awkward underbelly is animated by sharp wit and occasionally shocking candour. Charismatic Canadian tenor, writer, and composer Isaiah Bell guides the audience through the vicissitudes of a life defined by what it’s missing — or, as he calls it, ‘The Story of a Hole’. Persistent emptiness of heart drives a young man out from the shadow of a restrictive fundamentalist cult, into obsessive passions for bad men, and onward to a successful but strangely hollow life on the stage. Combining rapid-fire monologues and personal confessions with a diverse array of original music — chansons and ballads, cleverly touching cabaret songs, and expansive operatic scenas — this “comic, wrenching, and personal tour-de-force” reminds us that desire, shame, and the longing to be loved are themes common to us all… Isaiah’s version just includes both pathos and a wink, as well as possibly the most memorable use of a red plastic bucket you have yet to see.

“The flexibility on display, the ease with which Bell could connect, have us laughing our heads off? Very impressive… Bell’s presentation was so authentic… telling us horror stories and silly stories, and laying himself bare… But wow, what a brilliant image. I hope there will be another opportunity to see/hear Bell’s fascinating creation. Whatever show he might bring to town, I’ll be sure to go see it.”
— Classical music critic Leslie Barcza

“Bell’s tale is one of small answers that speak bravely of truths that are bigger than all of us… The confessional one-person show has to be an actor’s greatest challenge. Done wrong, the performance wallows in self-indulgence. Done right, one person’s perspective can illuminate other lives. Isaiah Bell achieves the latter. In spoken words and in song, he made the themes in his own life echo in our own recollections… about our own humanity, of being loved, and of loving and accepting ourselves for who we are.”
— Toronto Star

2022 | 2023

Sung In


Baumann Centre

Seat Map

"Bell’s tale is one of small answers that speak bravely of truths that are bigger than all of us"

“Poignant, thoughtful, raw and honest"