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Paul Gross and Martha Burns ride in a swan boat in a scene from the Shakespearean-theatre satire Slings & Arrows. (HO/CP)
Paul Gross and Martha Burns ride in a swan boat in a scene from the Shakespearean-theatre satire Slings & Arrows. (HO/CP)

Nestruck on Theatre

Is Slings and Arrows on the way back? Add to ...

Will Slings and Arrows be coming back for a fourth season? Co-creator Bob Martin has been hinting that it might on Twitter, making fans of the late, lamented theatre-themed television s eries giddy with excitement. (Well, making me giddy with excitement, anyway.)

"Slings may live again," Martin tweeted recently under his handle @drstoper , a reference to the character he played on the short-lived CBC comedy, Michael: Tuesdays and Thursday.

"[R]ecently we have been meeting and thinking, shall we say, laterally," Martin wrote in response to questioning from blogger Jonathan Mandell aka @NewYorkTheater. "[I]t’s more than a dream, I’ll tell you that much. I’ll stop now, before I’m hoisted by my own petard."

Created by Martin, the Kids in the Hall's Mark McKinney and playwright Susan Coyne, the Canadian show about a fictional Stratford-esque theatre festival ran for three seasons on Movie Central and The Movie Network from 2003 to 2006, but has since found a wider audience in the US and UK on DVD.

Slings and Arrows starred Paul Gross as New Burbage Festival artistic director Geoffrey Tenant and Stephen Ouimette as the ghost of the festival's former artistic director Oliver Welles. Both actors have seen their stage careers south of the border pick up in recent years, in part due to the popularity of the show in theatre circles.

Gross just starred in the premiere of John Guare's new play, Are You There, McPhee?, in Princeton, NJ, while Ouimette continues to earn raves in a held-over production of The Iceman Cometh in Chicago.

Thanks to the frequent comparisons made by critics reviewing the NBC Broadway series Smash, Slings and Arrows has found a new wave of watchers in recent months. ("The writers [of Smash] would also benefit from watching a few seasons of “Slings and Arrows,” a terrific backstage television series that was smart and proud of it," noted New York Times writer Neil Genzlinger.)

Each season of the series showed the New Burbage company struggling to mount one of Shakespeare's plays: Romeo and Juliet in the first season; Macbeth in the second; and finally King Lear (who was played by legendary actor William Hutt in one of his final performance).

Which of Shakespeare's works might New Burbage mount in a fourth season? Martin dropped a hint about that on Twitter too, saying that in previous discussions: " Richard III came up many times…"

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