Thursday, 28 March 2013

Soup Can Theatre Presents A Special Double Bill

A Hand of Bridge by Samuel Barber (libretto, Gian Carlo Menotti)
No Exit by Jean Paul Sartre (translated by Stuart Gilbert)
March 27 - 30
Tapestry New Opera Studio
$16 - $25 (student/senior/arts worker)

The Interview:
Soup Can Theatre, founding member and Artisitic Director, Sarah Thorpe on  and the company's new teaming of Barber and Sartre. I want to thank Sarah for doing this interview during the short run of this production, when time was very precious to her as well as the company.

Sarah Thorpe, dir. No Exit
donna g: Why is your company called “Soup Can” theatre?

Sarah Thorpe: The name comes from a paper I wrote during my undergrad in the theatre program at York University, about a post-modern/Andy Warhol-esque production of The Threepenny Opera. I think it's safe to say that the soup can paintings Warhol did are one of the most recognizable symbols of post-modernism, so the name of the company comes from the combination of that with theatre.

donna g: Besides the thematic connection of “hell being other people”, what made Soup Can decide to mount these works together?

Sarah Thorpe: It was mainly due to the thematic connection. We were looking for a one act piece to do, and our musical director Pratik Gandhi (director/musical director of A Hand of Bridge) had expressed interest in doing an operatic piece and brought A Hand of Bridge to our attention. I had just finished reading No Exit, and thought it would be interesting to do the two pieces together as a double bill production, attracting both the opera go-ers and the indie theatre crowd. It gave us an opportunity to showcase our work to a new audience, as we had never done an opera before, and it was exciting for us to take a risk and try something new.

donna g: Can you speak to the challenges of doing a double bill? I mean, you have two directors, two casts, two sets, and one space…it must have meant some very long strategy sessions.

Sarah Thorpe: The main challenge of doing these pieces together was coordinating the technical and logistical aspects. For example, the lighting designs had to be very similar as there obviously wouldn't be time to do any lighting changes in between pieces. Once we were in the space (the wonderful Tapestry New Opera Studio) it was a matter of figuring out where to store each piece's set and how to do the set changes smoothly and with as few obstacles as possible. Other than that, we rehearsed separately and had our own schedules.

donna g: You have a very short run for this production. Do you think Soup Can will remount it at some point, with a longer run, or is this just a one of before working on your upcoming 2013 Fringe production of Love is a Poverty You Can Sell 2?

Sarah Thorpe: We would have loved to have had a longer run if possible, but the main reason we didn't was because of the financial commitment. It's very expensive to rent a performance space and pay for the royalties of two pieces for a two week run, so we did the shorter run because it was more affordable for us. I don't know if we'll remount it one day, but we kept all the set pieces, props, etc. so if we want to, we'll have everything we'll need (funding pending, of course!)

Sarah Thorpe – Artistic Director:  Sarah is a Toronto based theatre practitioner. She holds an Honours – Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre from York University, and received York’s Mira Friedlander Award for her achievements in theatre writing, criticism, world and Canadian theatre studies. Film/Voice credits include shorts with the Canadian Film Centre, Ryerson University, and video game voice-overs.  (bio courtesy of Soup Can Theatre.)  For more information about Sarah, please visit her website:

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