Classics? Contemporary plays? New works? It's no longer certain what you're going to get when Soulpepper Theatre Company announces a season.
Artistic director Albert Schultz revealed a diverse 2015 playbill Tuesday. Here are the five biggest surprises coming to Toronto's most popular not-for-profit theatre company:
1. Happy Place
Pamela Sinha's new play about seven women suffering from depression, will have its world premiere in September as only the second new script that Soulpepper has ever produced, the first being Ins Choi's cross-Canada hit Kim's Convenience. Notably, Crash, Sinha's harrowing debut about a rape survivor, was named best new play at the 2012 Dora Mavor Moore Awards over Kim's Convenience - an upset win about which there are apparently no hard feelings at Soulpepper.
Sarah Ruhl's retelling of the Orpheus myth had a memorable outing at the SummerWorks festival in 2011 directed by Kristina Nicoll. Alan Dilworth, who is also directing Happy Place, is in charge of introducing this play and one of America's best contemporary playwrights to Soulpepper's audience in May
3. Yours Forever, Marie Lou
This will be the first time Soulpepper has produced a play by Quebec's Michel Tremblay. In September, Diana Leblanc, who directed the original-language version at Théâtre Français de Toronto in 2011, takes on a new translation by Linda Gaboriau (who has presumably done more than simply flip the first two words in the title from previous translations).
Albert Schultz, who has stepped up into the A-ranks of Canadian directors in recent years, takes on this Peter Weiss play set in an insane asylum - famously directed by Peter Brook in its English-language premiere. Also, in September.
5. Accidental Death of an Anarchist
A political farce by Nobel Prize winner Dario Fo which opens the season in January. Ravi Jain - director of A Brimful of Asha and Iceland and on his way up to the A-ranks - is at the helm.
What else? Subway Stations of the Cross - Ins Choi's follow-up to Kim's Convenience - will open in March as part of Soulpepper's new Studio Series. This solo show about a homeless man will run in rep with Kenneth Welsh's "verbatim performance" of The Gospel According to Mark. (Verbatim, I guess, because it is the word of God?)
Also on the bill: The Dining Room, a comedy set over multiple generations at the same dining room table by A.R. Gurney, to be directed by Joseph Ziegler in February; Bedroom Farce, an Alan Ayckbourn farce, to be directed by Ted Dykstra in May; and The Dybbuk, or Between the Worlds, a new play by Anton Piatigorksy based on S Ansky's Yiddish classic, and also opening in May.
Returning for a victory lap are Soulpepper's productions of Of Human Bondage, winner of seven Dora Mavor Moore awards in the spring; Ferenc Molnar's The Play's The Thing; and Spoon River.
Last but not least nationalistic, VideoCabaret will present two of their irreverent Canadian history plays in repertory in April and May: Trudeau and Levesque; and Trudeau and the FLQ.
Soulpepper will take a performance sabbatical in July and August to make way for Panamania, the arts and culture festival associated with the Pan Am Games. Late fall programming will be announced at a later date.