Soulpepper’s A Christmas Carol is Toronto’s favourite theatre tradition, and we’re giving away two pairs of tickets to see this iconic play and get into the spirit of the season.
Edward Albee‘s seminal play about the degradation of American marriage and ethics is another vehicle for a successful Soulpepper event. It’s a supremely difficult task to follow an act like Mike Nichols’ movie adaptation starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, whose famously tempestuous marriage imitated Albee’s plot.
Difficult, yes, but not impossible.
It’s no surprise that Hungarian playwright Ferenc Molnar‘s popular tale, which premiered in Budapest in 1910, was translated and has been embraced by the English theatre. The story of disguising a character to test a lover’s fidelity is a familiar one, employed in many a performance from classic mythology to Shakespeare.
Although it’s been over 30 years since Billy Bishop Goes to War debuted in 1978, the play continues to fit perfectly, delivering the timeless message of the bloody cost of survival. Written and composed by John Gray with actor Eric Peterson, the play is the story of Billy Bishop from Owen Sound, Ontario, who joins the Royal Air Force during World War I and goes on to become the most decorated Canadian of the war.
Clifford Odets’ kitchen sink drama, first produced in 1935, revolves around a Jewish family’s struggles to survive in the Bronx during the Depression. Odets’ play was back on Broadway in 2006, earning the Tony award for best revival that year. By 2007, it was playing in London. Now Soulpepper’s competent production brings the play to Toronto audiences.
Money makes the world go around, they say, and in Soulpepper’s latest production, Loot, it’s what makes this farce fly. Old Mr McLeavy has no time to grieve for his dead wife. His wife’s nurse (Nicole Underhay) is distracting him with her charms. His son Hal (Matthew Edison) and Hal’s boyfriend Dennis (Jonathan Watton) have robbed a bank and find an ideal hiding place for the loot in her coffin. Now what to do with the corpse?
Once your ear is attuned to the fire hose volume of expletives in David Mamet‘s 1983 play Glengarry Glen Ross, the profane mantra begins to take on a rhythm and cadence of its own. With each line, the play (inspired by Mamet’s experience working in a Chicago real estate office in the 1960s) is more of an indictment of the dog-eat-dog unprincipled capitalism that chews up its participants. The Soulpepper production, tautly directed by company regular David Storch, is an ambitious and successful revival.
The question “what if?” is all the fertilizer needed to sprinkle on the waking thoughts of most playwrights. Travesties, which opened February 18, was inspired by Tom Stoppard‘s discovery that James Joyce, Lenin and Dadaist founder Tristan Tzara were all living in Zurich in 1917.
Creating a new version of any familiar tale can be a dangerous undertaking. The Charles Dickens 1844 classic, A Christmas Carol, falls into this category of beloved story that lives on through television movie reruns. But Soulpepper has created its own tradition, remounting a production every few years that is an absolute delight.
A richly textured play that eloquently captures the zeitgeist of the post-war society in the U.S., A Raisin in the Sun is just as relevant today. In Lorraine Hansberry‘s powerful play, the characters are on the cusp of a new era of civil rights marches and affirmative action. But they struggle to realize that the pursuit of the American Dream does not replace family honour.