Soulpepper 2012 season

by Lynn on October 27, 2011

in The Passionate Playgoer

Soulpepper’s Artistic Director, Albert Schultz announced his 2012 season recently. This will be the company’s 15th season. A terrific accomlishment. Here are the productions with my comments to follow.


Written by Ins Choi. Directed by Weyni Mengesha.

A hit of this year’s Toronto Fringe Festival, Kim’s Convenience is set in a Regent Park convenience store and describes the journey of a fractured but loving family confronting the future and forgiving the past.


Written by Lee MacDougall. Directed by Stuart Hughes.

Four ne’er-do-well morphine addicts get together in a Toronto apartment to discuss a dangerous but seemingly foolproof robbery. Gritty and hilarious.


Written by Eugene O’Neill. Directed by Diana Leblanc.

Eugene O’Neill’s revelation of a day in the life of his own tortured family. A towering play.


Written by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart. Directed by Joseph Ziegler.

The chaotic, eccentric lives of the Sycamore family are thrown into unaccustomed order when their sensible daughter Alice brings a prospective beau and his conservative parents home for dinner.


Written by David Storey. Directed by Albert Schultz.

This almost-forgotten masterpiece about the fragility of human interaction.


Written by David Mamet. Directed by David Storch.

David Mamet’s savage insight into the morals (or lack thereof) involved with producing Hollywood blockbusters sees two executives gamble their integrity for profit, only to be complicated by a surprise dissenting perspective.


Written by Neil Simon. Directed by Ted Dykstra.

A popular vaudeville duo reunite after 12 years for a TV special. And they can’t stand each other. Yes it’s a comedy with bite.

The summer rep includes two 20th century plays that address urgent political situations through the use of historical allegory:


Written by Mikhail Bulgakov. Directed by Laszlo Marton.

Bulgakov speaks to the necessary freedom of the artist by delving into the opulent world of 18th century France and the life of Moliere.


Written by Arthur Miller. Directed by Albert Schultz.

Salem, Massachusetts, 1692: a small, devout town is thrown into chaos with accusations of witchcraft and spiritual possession. The Salem witch hunts parallel the McCarthy ‘witch hunts’ for Communists in the 1950s.


Written by Arthur Miller. Directed by Albert Schultz.

A remount of last year’s successful production of Willie Loman and his efforts to make a living for his family.


Written by Samuel Beckett. Directed by Daniel Brooks.

A rethinking of Brook’s 1999 Soulpepper production.

In a room safe from the desolate landscape outside, Hamm, a blind man unable to stand, gives orders to his servant, Clov, a man unable to sit, as Hamm’s elderly parents, Nagg and Nell, look on from their trashcan homes.


Adapted from Dicken’s book by Michael Shamata who also directs.

A remount of the beloved classic and a tradition at Soulpepper. Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by three ghosts who help him understand the importance of charity in the holiday season.


It’s a more streamlined program of 12 productions this year with only two repeated productions, over last year’s bloated program of 17 shows with a total of 5 repeats.

Artistic Director Albert Schultz was quoted in the Toronto Star saying that the past year was the first time in the company’s history that their audiences declined instead of increased. He explains this by saying that that has been the trend around the country for all the arts. I assume he means the tough economy is the cause.

The economy has been hitting all sorts of arts organizations for a few years, but seemingly not Soulpepper if this past year is the first year attendace has declined.

What was so different at Soulpepper this past year? Simple. That is the first year of Mr. Schultz’s new scheduling program, in which several popular shows in their recent past have been remounted. He is basing this scheduling system on the European model that brings back, and brings back, and ditto, popular shows.

His model is that of his mentor, Hungarian director, Laszlo Marton who runs a theatre in Hungary that way.

As I have said on air and in my blog–I don’t live in Hungary. I live here and I don’t want to see something that has been brought back several times, as Schultz has done with some plays.

And his audience has sent him that clear message I think. They don’t want to see them either. It’s one thing to hold over a show that is doing well. It’s quite another to bring it back again and again. Enough with OUR TOWN. Enough with BILLY BISHOP GOES TO WAR to name just two.

This year only two shows are being revived: A CHRISTMAS CAROL, which I have no problem with since it’s a seasonal favourite, and DEATH OF A SALESMAN which I do have a problem with, regarding reviving it since it only played last year. Wasn’t it held over last year? Isn’t that enough? Always leave them wanting more–not less.

The canon of international theatrical literature is huge. Why does ENDGAME need to be remounted in a rethought production? Is there nothing else in all the readings the company should be doing?

KIM’S CONVENIENCE is a wonderful show. But why is it considered a Soulpepper show? Ins Choi might have written it while he was in the Soulpepper Academy, but he wrote it above and beyond his acting work.

It’s not a project for the Academy like WINDOW ON TORONTO was. Odd choice, that.

Concerns aside, I look forward to this 2012 season.

Leave a Comment

Respectful comments are accepted on this site as long as they are accompanied by a verifiable name and a verifiable e-mail address. Posts that are slanderous, libelous or personally derogatory will not be approved.