Centaur Theatre Company presents “The Shoplifters” March 19 – April 7

Award-winning playwright Morris Panych directs hit comedy about the effects of consumerism

Montreal, March 5, 2019. Two-time Governor General’s Award-winning playwright, Morris Panych directs The Shoplifters, a comedy about the effects of consumerism. The play received its 2014 world premiere in Washington, DC, ironically the capital of one of the world’s countries most dedicated to free enterprise and the almighty dollar. The script has been reworked by Mr. Panych, with the help of his bilingual cast, to depict a unique Montreal experience for Centaur audiences. Long-time artistic collaborator and life partner, Ken MacDonald, designed the set and costumes, as he has done for Mr. Panych on more than 100 projects. 

ALMA: “You wanna talk about stealing? Who stole the American dream?”

Alma, a feisty geriatric shoplifter with serious street cred, uses her five-finger discount to redistribute what she classifies as undeserved corporate profit to her less fortunate neighbours. Dom, a righteous crime fighting evangelist having a very busy first day on the job, catches Alma and her skittish sidekick, Phyllis, with a couple of rib steaks stuffed up their skirts. Otto, the world-weary head security guard is called in to interrogate but it soon becomes apparent that he has a more magnanimous opinion of Alma’s sticky fingers. According to her, “Stealing isn’t always about taking things.”

The cast of “The Shoplifters”: Laurent Pitre, Marie-Ève Perron, Ellen David, and Michel Perron (Image courtesy of Centaur Theatre)

“We all have our own internal sense of justice that doesn’t always match the legal one.” – Morris Panych 

Mr. Panych described the character that instigates the shoplifting. “Alma isn’t really about sticking it to the man; she’s an aging woman fighting against a world that discounts her. She won’t be overlooked and is determined to grab what she can out of life. Like she says: ‘You know what matters? Living a little.’” In an interview for Vancouver’s The Province, he further explained his interest in shoplifting, stating, “I found reasons why people shoplift fascinating, especially older people. In many, many cases, it’s not for something they need, it’s because they want to do something interesting with their lives besides just fade away.” 

“wicked one-liners […] “rich, smart comedy”
– Vancouver Sun 

“Morris is one of Canada’s best contemporary humorists, looking at important, timely issues with the social consciousness of the guy on the street,” remarked Eda Holmes, Centaur Theatre’s Artistic and Executive Director. “With The Shoplifters, he questions right versus wrong within the larger corporate context. Grey areas abound but at its core, The Shoplifters is a love story of sorts: loving your community and putting it first. The wonderful eccentricities of these characters give us hope for humanity.”

Centaur Theatre Company
March 19 to April 7, 2019

Written & directed by
Morris Panych

Ellen David, Marie-Ève PerronMichel Perron and Laurent Pitre

Set & Costume Designer Ken MacDonald | Lighting Designer Alan Brodie
Fight Director Sylvio Archambault | Associate Lighting Designer Eryn Griffith
Stage Manager Elaine Normandeau
Assistant Stage Manager Danielle Laurin 

Tickets: www.centaurtheatre.com | (514)-288-3161

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