Thursday, August 11, 2016

Soulpepper's 2017 (half) season

Soulpepper is somewhat unique in that it kind of has rolling announcements of its upcoming season.  First you find out about the 2015-2016 season with some gaps in the 2016 half, then there will be a fairly comprehensive 2016 announcement, and now they have come up with the 2016-2017 season, though I was already aware of the first half of the bill.  Anyway, here is the current season.  Hopefully, it opens properly.

I have kind of mixed feelings.  I know that Soulpepper basically is an actor-oriented theatre company, not too dissimilar from Steppenwolf, but they are far less ambitious than Steppenwolf and they are much more likely to bring productions back.  It looks like this is the third go-around in 3 seasons for Spoon River.  This approach probably helps put butts in seats, but it means I am automatically not interested in 50% or so of their offerings.  This season, they are repeating the following (though to be fair, some of these are really short limited engagements around the holidays): Brimful of Asha, Kim's Convenience, Hocus Pocus, Alligator Pie, Spoon River, Of Human Bondage (I hated this so am particularly depressed to see it come back and take up a slot) and A Christmas Carol.  I'm not entirely sure how to categorize Chasse-Gallerie (which was Storefront's Christmas play last year), and Billy Bishop Goes to War, since they are essentially remounts but not specific to Soulpepper.  (And even The Last Wife moves a Stratford production (which I have no desire to see) over to Soulpepper.)  I suppose the production values will be higher for Chasse-Gallerie, but the price may be higher than I want to pay, but I may go.  I'll almost certainly go see Eric Peterson in Billy Bishop Goes to War, which is one of the few things that really interests me at Soulpepper in 2017.

Last season Soulpepper did Jitters, which is sort of the Canadian version of Noises Off, and this season they are doing Noises Off.  They just love these backstage comedies (again, typical of an actor-oriented company).  I may go, but I am not particularly excited about it.

Aside from Billy Bishop, I am truly excited only by the two Video Cabaret shows (Confederation Parts I and II) and Hosanna by Michel Tremblay.  That's kind of slim pickings.  Actually Tarragon's season looks vastly more interesting than Soulpepper's though last year the reverse was true.  I suppose I'll just have to hope that when they reveal the remaining shows of 2017, I will find more of interest.  Actually, I have been meaning to write them to see if they will ever tackle Stoppard's The Coast of Utopia, since I think they are basically the best positioned company in Toronto to take this on.  I'll try to remember to do that next week.

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