News out of Canadian Stage: its season opener, Suzan-Lori Parks’ Pulitzer Prize-winning play Topdog/Underdog, has been extended through October 22.
Topdog/Underdog concerns Lincoln and Booth, brothers haunted by their names and past. When Lincoln gets a gig impersonating his presidential namesake, Booth takes over his brother’s old racket of dealing three-card monte; a torrent of secrets, lies, and one-upmanship follows.
The darkly comic fable of brotherly love and sibling rivalry has been deemed a modern classic, with the New York Times calling it the best American play since Angels in America. Canadian Stage’s new production comes hot on the heels of a wildly successful 2022 Broadway revival.
Tawiah M’Carthy directs, making the production his third at Canadian Stage this year, following March’s Fairview (which he directed) and April’s Maanomaa, My Brother (which he performed in and co-created). Actors Mazin Elsadig and Sébastien Heins join him as Lincoln and Booth, respectively.
The design team includes Rachel Forbes (set), Joyce Padua (costumes), Jareth Li (lighting), and Stephen Surlin (sound).
The show plays at the Berkeley Street Theatre’s main performance space, the Marilyn and Charles Baillie Theatre. M’Carthy and Forbes have significantly transformed the space, offering extended orchestra seating that allows the audience to experience Topdog/Underdog “as it was meant to be seen.”
Parks is widely considered one of the most adventurous playwrights of her generation, and Topdog/Underdog might be her most iconic work. As cards fly, stakes raise, and America’s darkness revs its engine, who will end on top?
Topdog/Underdog runs at the Berkeley Street Theatre until October 22. Tickets are available here.