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October 2011 - Nr. 10
Irena Syrokomla

The Price by Arthur Miller
at Soulpepper in Toronto

Soulpepper is getting more and more ambitious: the plays are less “to entertain the public” and more to make them think and analyze their own experiences. It takes years of experience and maturity to pause and appreciate plays like Death of a Salesman (staged at Soulpepper in 2010), or for that matter Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf. It takes maturity and experience to sit in silence and follow the lines of The Price.

The Price was written in 1968 and deals with two brothers sorting out the possessions of their dead father. One of the brothers took care of the father over 16 years, making serious sacrifices in his career and personal life to support him, the other one went to university, became a doctor and, other than nominal financial contributions, had nothing to do with caring for the old man. They get together to decide about the leftover possessions and begin to talk: the past events and decisions made, the sense of guilt and responsibility, memories of the family versus the dollar value of the items left and how to settle the issues festering for such a long time – all of that has a price. The price of the harp, the value of the old gowns, the price of time spent together or apart, the memories. And bitterness on both sides is almost palatable. Michael Hanrahan and Stuart Hughes play the roles of two brothers and do it superbly. And there is also an old dealer (played by David Fox) coming to assess the items for sale and make an offer.

It is a unique play; action takes place in a single continuous time frame, everything is happening right in front of our eyes. The play is framed by the opening moments with a laughing record played on the old gramophone and the same scene played at the end. Miller was at his best at the time of writing The Price.

The directing and interpretation by Diana Leblanc is another triumph for her and for Soulpepper. The stage design by Phillip Silver is so appropriate and moving. Another play at Soulpepper, another memorable success. Thank you.

The Price runs till September 21. More plays to come this year: The Odd Couple (well-known comedy) – till October 22, Ghosts by Ibsen October 10 to November 18 and just before Christmas sweet and uplifting Parfumerie – December 8 to 24. Tickets can be purchased by calling 416-866-8666 or by visiting

Music Room opens in Waterloo

Waterloo Region is rich in music venues. There is a full size Symphony, Chamber Music Society, Chamber Music Orchestra, Numus and Music Department at Wilfrid Laurier University offering weekly concerts free of charge. There are concerts at The Registry Theatre, weekly concerts at two churches, and several summer festivals: Jazz Festival and Blues. I am sure I missed some, please forgive me. And now there is The Jazz Room, dedicated space at the Huether Hotel in downtown Waterloo offering jazz concerts twice a week – every Friday and Saturday at 8:30 in the evening.

It has been in the works for some time, and by the opening night on September 9 there were 95 subscribers and a line-up at the door. The room was packed.

Larry Larson [photo: Bob Lee]The very first concert featured Larry Larson and Jazz Guys – a well-known and much admired quintet. Larry Larson is a classical musician with Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony and a jazz artist as well. Jazz Guys group consists of David Martin on trombone, Paul Shilton on piano, Kevin Muir on bass and David Campion on drums. Some compositions played were of well-known artists like Christian McBride’s In a Hurry, Joshua Redman’s Chill, Charlie Parker’s Freight Train, Joni Mitchell’s River as well as some of their own compositions.

The following Saturday Mike Murley Septet was received by the audience standing up against the walls. Some artist set up a canvas and painted them playing – the finished picture is presently featured on the wall of The Jazz Room.

Friday September 16 it was Andriy Tykhonov, a local jazz artist with his group playing some classics and some of his own compositions. Andriy took time to talk about his arrival in Canada 9 years ago and his life here. Many jazz lovers had heard him play before and return to listen to the light and moving interpretations of jazz.

The Jazz Room plan is modelled on successful jazz groups in Edmonton and Saskatoon. The directors with Stephen Preece at the helm plan to have about 30 concerts a year. The list of jazz concerts and music groups performing every Friday and Saturday till the end of 2011 is available on the web-site

There are also plans for a special New Year Eve party (it happens to be Saturday) featuring vocals with Melissa Stylianou. So far – concerts have been received enthusiastically; the room for about 120 people is full every time. Good luck and looking forward to more concerts!

Email to Irena Syrokomla
Irena Syrokomla, reviews, arts, entertainment, performing arts, theatre, musicals, stage performances, Kitchener, Waterloo, Stratford, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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