As someone who works in medicine but dreams of the spotlight, the return season of TRIAGE! A Nursing Cabaret hits a significant sweet spot for me. Zule (rhymes with Julie) Khan is a sexy and powerful RN with a voice as big as her heart. Her capacity to beautifully belt out a song, move through note progressions with clarity and precision, and sass the shit out of a tune is phenomenal to witness.
She begins the show dressed as a damn sexy nurse, and when the costume is replaced by scrubs you might think that the tone may drop towards something more serious. No. Delightfully, not at all. Anyone who works with patients or in hospital settings will recognise the dark humour that naturally comes hand-in-hand when you experience people in their less than finest moments. From patients’ surprise laxative attacks to the “interesting” people encountered in triage, this show will provide you with insights into the wonderful world of nursing that you never knew you needed.
No topic is off limits, as Khan walks us through her life as the child of two medicos who run a doctor’s practise out of the family home. Growing up literally within a doctor’s surgery, she took to improvising toys out of various medical instruments, and indulging her love of singing by locking herself in her parent’s car so she could have a space to belt out some tunes.
Her rendition of Aretha Franklin’s "A Natural Woman" is such a moving tribute to her passion. I adored it because I see much of myself and my past in that song, but anyone who has chased a passion and developed and honed their skills over time will enjoy the touching sentiment.
Though the wit is sharp and there are jokes aplenty, the show also touches on some very real and important issues: politics in health care, appropriate pay for service staff, the thrills and spills of shift work, death acceptance and voluntary euthanasia. Performing arts is a fantastic platform for starting conversations about vital topics such as these and I’m thrilled that Khan incorporated them into her show.
This show is for everyone, even those who don’t work in medicine. It serves to remind us that the heart and soul are present even at the most trying of times, and that we should always remember to look for it and appreciate it. It also reminds us to make time for ourselves – our passions, our loves, our loved ones. Triage! is an uplifting and hilarious experience that I would thoroughly recommend you catch before the run ends.