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March 2011 - Nr. 3
Irena Syrokomla

Soulpepper Theatre in Toronto

There is a new (call it European) model of theatre management coming to Toronto: more flexibility with scheduling of performances, faster reaction of the producers to audience attendance, either extending the shows- if the attendance demands it, or cut them off earlier and not to play to the empty seats. It sounds great and Albert Schultz, Artistic Director of Soulpepper, is all for it. He has already implemented some of these ideas by bringing back last year successes to the stage again or shortening some runs. Last year he has spent some time in Budapest working with the director of Comedy Theatre of Budapest Laszlo Morton and observing the results.

Laszlo Morton is coming back to Soulpepper as a visiting director. We are looking forward to his work.

So this coming season Soulpepper will present two returning successes: Billy Bishop Goes to War in June and July and Perfumerie in December.

There is also a full line-up of other plays, very much worth seeing, some classics by writers like Shakespeare, Arthur Miller, Ibsen, Ionesco, some more current like Window on Toronto.

At the present time there are two plays running: Oleanna by David Mamet and Midsummer Night Dream by Shakespeare.

Oleanna is one of the best known plays by David Mamet, controversial, dealing with current issues of sexual harassment, the way women are or have been treated, outcome of such conflicts for both women and men.

Diego Matamoros, exceptional actor, has a role of John, a very traditional university professor coming from again, very traditional environment of academia. He is dealing with application for tenure, purchase of a new house and some unhappy failing student, Carol, played by Sarah Wilson. In the first act he is a sophisticated academic, patronizing and self-indulging, Carol is confused and rather crude. In the second act she filed a complaint with the department about sexual harassment, also acquired degree of self-confidence and support from “her group”. Plans of the professor are coming apart – his tenure is in question, he is loosing grip on how a student should be treated and what does it mean. In the last act the student is assertive self-confident and articulate. She is precise in her position and demands; the life of the professor academically is over. He is at a loss what happened and what he did wrong, humiliated and angry. The final scene of fight is shocking – not all Oleanna productions do it like that. Many credits for Laszlo Marton, the director, for this daring scene!

Midsummer Night’s Dream – by who else, but Shakespeare

It can be staged and produced as a traditional classic. Or a dreamlike ballet. This time Soulpepper director Rick Roberts has chosen to mix the dreamlike atmosphere with some very modern elements, puppets, hoodies, casual pants with stylish garments and superb light effects. Even the speech seemed to be easier to comprehend. It is, nevertheless, Shakespearian dream, forest in the night, confusion and eventual waking up and seeing reality. It is about growing up, experiencing first love, and making choices. The dance-movement elements together with the sound-noise effects were especially impressive. I was very impressed and pleased with 2011 program and continuous innovative ideas – Midsummer Night’s Dream runs till April 15 and tickets are available either by calling 416-866-8666 or at the web-site

Larry’s Jazz Guys at The Registry in Kitchener.

Jazz is very welcome in snow and winter. The night of this annual jazz concert lead by Larry Larson happen to be the night of the heavy snowfall and bitter cold. It was difficult to drive and find parking in the snowdrift. Regardless of the weather The Registry was full to the last seat. And the Guys – some of them coming from Stratford – were just great. Larry Larson was the leader and setting the tone for the performance, lively but very welcome, warming the frozen souls and smiling. The musical pieces were known and welcome, standing applause to be expected. I do hope Larry and his Guys will come again with their music to The Registry or other venues. Good luck and thank you for the music!

There will be more jazz concerts coming, Barbara Fulton Quartet March 11th, Don Thompson Trio April 8th and 3 different jazz groups in Festival of Jazz on May 14th. Tickets are very reasonably priced, information available on the web or by calling 519-745-6565.


Harvest written by Ken Cameron, staged by Lost &Found Theatre at The Registry in Kitchener.

Lost & Found Theatre comes back every now and then. A group of professional actors who broke away from Theatre & Company some years ago keep finding themselves and coming back to Kitchener.

Harvest is a semi-autobiographical story of what the parents of Ken Cameron lived through in Alberta. It tells the story of a farming couple who decided to retire in the city and rent their farmhouse to an airline pilot. They have little life experience outside their immediate environment and eventually discover that the renters converted the farm into marihuana growth facilities.

It certainly is not a traditional comedy by any means, nevertheless amusing and lively acted by two actors Terry Barna and Janet Monid. Both are playing different parts and changing attires and personalities right in front of our eyes.

It was a great break in the middle of the winter and confirmation than Lost & Found is still there. Their next play The Lark by Jean Anouilh is scheduled for April 14 to 16, at The Registry Theatre. You can look them up at

Irena Syrokomla reviews arts, entertainment, the performing arts such as theatre, musicals, stage performances.

Email to Irena Syrokomla
Irena Syrokomla, Soulpepper, Soulpepper Theatre, reviews, arts, entertainment, performing arts, theatre, musicals, stage performances, Toronto, Kitchener, Waterloo, Stratford, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada

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