My Theatre

29 July 2017

Soulpepper on 42nd Street: True North

By // Theatre (New York)

Soulpepper, a company of Toronto-based Canadian theatre artists, is doing a residency at the Signature Theatre complex for the month of July. If the concert they served up in honor of Canada Day (July 1st and 2nd) is any indication, New York City is having a wonderful month.

From the opening speech by Artistic Director Albert Schultz, to the beautiful encore, and the reception following — the entire evening was a welcoming and engaging meditation on what it means to be Canadian. The simple tree-themed set (reminiscent of Come From Away) and use of projections was delightfully evocative. The material was both celebratory and heart-wrenchingly honest – a song about the tearing down of Africatown had me in tears. The performers each had multiple moments to shine, and worked together beautifully (how very Canadian). Of all the pieces, the line that has reverberated most in my memory was projected on a screen during Mike Ross and Dennis Lee’s lovely song, ‘Spadina’:

“What will be left of us is cities and songs?”

Well, if they are songs like the ones shared by Soulpepper, we shall all be a little bit better for it.

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