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March 2019
Tuesday March 19, 2019
Play: “The Shoplifters” in Montreal
Posted: Tuesday April 13, 2010
Morris Panych

Playwright, actor and director Morris Panych has been described as “a man for all seasons in Canadian theatre.” He has appeared in over fifty theatre productions and in numerous television and film roles. He has directed more than ninety theatre productions and written over a dozen plays that have been translated and produced throughout the world. He has twice won the Governor General’s Award and has won the Jessie Richardson Theatre Award fourteen times for acting and directing. He has also been nominated six times for Toronto’s Dora Mavor Moore Award and three times for the Chalmers Award.

The 2009 Off-Broadway production of his play Vigil opened to rave reviews. Under the title Auntie & Me, Vigil was also produced in London in 2003–04; and in French at Théâtre La Bruyère in Paris in 2005; and his classic 7 Stories ranks 9th among the ten best selling plays in Canada, outselling the Coles version of Romeo & Juliet.

For more information on the work and career of Morris Panych, visit his website.

LATEST Morris Panych NEWS

June 2016 : On Monday, June 27 in Vancouver, the 2016 Jessie Awards will be presented

June 2016 : Tomorrow in Toronto! Lakeside Play Readings

April 2016 : Now available: “the best script Morris Panych has ever written”

January 2016 : A look at what’s coming this spring

August 2015 : Opening this weekend: Panych’s The Shoplifters at the Philadelphia Fringe

March 2015 : Two More Spring Books Have Arrived! The Shoplifters and page as bone ~ ink as blood

January 2015 : Announcement: New Books for Spring 2015!

July 2014 : “Lawrence & Holloman,” the Feel-Bad Comedy of the Year

August 2013 : Volume Two of Modern Canadian Plays (5th Edition) Has Arrived!


2017 Lifetime Membership Award (Tom Hendry Awards, Playwrights’ Guild of Canada)


The Shoplifters

Edgerton Foundation New Play Award (Winner, 2015)


Vigil - 2nd Edition

Winner of the 1996 Jessie Richardson Award for Outstanding Original Play or Musical (Arts Club Theatre)


What Lies Before Us

Finalist for the 2007 Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama


Girl in the Goldfish Bowl

Winner of the 2002 Jessie Richardson Award for Outstanding Original Play or Musical: Large Theatre (Gateway Theatre)

Winner of the 2003 Dora Mavor Moore Award General Theatre: Outstanding New Play (Tarragon Theatre)

Winner of the 2004 Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama



“The best script Morris Panych has ever written.”
—Richard Ouzounian

Sextet is not just a wonderfully entertaining piece of theatre, it will make you think about love, sex, procreation, and music in ways you’ve never done before.”
Toronto Star

“These six stories play out side by side – six skinny rooms with thin doors and narrow beds, blurring into each other. It’s like a standard sex-farce set on fertility drugs.”
Globe and Mail


The Shoplifters

“Economic inequality isn’t funny. Thank God The Shoplifters is …”
Washington City Paper

“The Shoplifters is a gem in a minor key, as a work of literature and a play.”
The Georgetowner

“Gripping comedy … this hilarious battle of wills brings the nature and meaning of shoplifting to new scales of justice and calls of a closer examination of the human condition.”
– TheatreBloom.com

“The Shoplifters gives a woman of a certain age the kind of riveting gravitas almost always written for men.”
– metroweekly.com

“The Shoplifters packs a comic punch.”
– DC Theatre Scene

“stocked with terrific jokes”
– DC Metro Theater Arts

“The Shoplifters is a hoot … a hysterically funny play, with biting wit and sharply rendered characters.”
– womanaroundtown.com

“Panych can definitely write jokes”
Calgary Sun


In Absentia

“This mystery story is a powerful meditation on the nature of lost love and grief, depicting a woman whose dire circumstances force her into deep contemplation of her marriage.”
– McGill Daily

“As heavy as it sounds and affecting as it is, [the play] has an uplifting vibrancy coming from an embracing narrative … While the story deals with profound loss, it’s much more about the redemptive power of love than the difficult process of grief.”
– Sacramento Bee


Vigil - 2nd Edition

“A small masterpiece.”
—Globe & Mail

“A devilishly funny play [that] laughs in death’s face.”

“This is one of those rare, liberating plays that actually breaks a taboo. [Panych] gives voice to the silent thoughts that hover around many death-beds.”
—National Post

“literate, incisive, edgy and lots of good, naughty fun.”
—Syracuse New Times

“…It causes us to think about, and perhaps appreciate in a new light, all the small things in life that ultimately define the relationships that matter most.”
—San Francisco Chronicle



“A lethally rollicking evening … raucous and funny … Panych’s dialogue is salted with perverse black humour … the actors have a fine time with this mixture of deadpan, sociology jargon, and mock-heroic allusions as the stakes escalate. Trust me, the body in the freezer is the least of it. … Family values have never looked murkier.”
Edmonton Journal

“That’s the thing about Panych. He makes you laugh about the oddest things, at the strangest moments, sometimes leaving you feeling guilty at being so amused by the pathetic or the macabre … a riveting production of a brilliant new play by one of Canada’s top playwrights.”
Montreal Gazette

“With crackling dialogue that recalls the muscular work of David Mamet, Gordon is a play about masculinity and power. Its characters inhabit a messy moral landscape where the only way out might just be to destroy each other.”
The Vancouver Sun

“A beautifully dark and chillingly funny exploration of … the implications of bringing children into this world.”
– Segal Centre for the Performing Arts

“Bitter but often bitingly funny … On full display is Panych’s knack for crisp, smart dialogue.”
Globe & Mail

“A dark yet humorous family drama that is both explosive and tender.”
– Hour.ca


Trespassers, The

“Full of juicy epigrams and insights that linger.”
Globe & Mail

“…a cause for celebration…”
Toronto Star

“With The Trespassers, Panych has crafted the theatrical equivalent of Johnny Cash’s final output—a melancholic, darkly humorous and wrenchingly beautiful portrait of life, death, love and family.”
Waterloo Record

“You can see why audiences would take to this family tale of an emotionally volatile fifteen-year-old and his cantankerous—and terminally ill—grandfather who haltingly prepares the youth for life … It’s bittersweet but not terribly so, and Panych’s meaty dialogue is smoothly handled.”
Associated Press

“Charming and, this being Panych, funny.”
National Post

The Trespassers has everything going for it, and is very good entertainment indeed.”
— scenechanges.com


Still Laughing

“A summer without a deviceful staging by dauntless extrasensory Morris Panych is … wrong.”
— Torontostage.com



“No one can make total strangers engage quite like Morris Panych can. He does so by allowing the characters to open up to their enigmatic past in clear, natural, flowing streams of consciousness. His character drawing has never been stronger, his dialogue stringing never more kooky and laconic.”

— Torontostage.com

“…a leathal mixture of black humour and social observation. When it comes to sparkling, erudite, bitchy dialogue, Panych, as a playwright, has few equals.”

— Toronto Star


What Lies Before Us

“Morris Panych is … neurotic, intemperate, ambitious, talented, funny, feared, beloved … and altogether impossible to ignore.”

— Toronto Life

“Panych neatly balances existential questions with funny dialogue and pleasingly absurd characters.”

— Canadian Literature


Dishwashers, The

“This microcosm of society at large is a brilliant and fascinating portrait of class as it exists at every level, even the relatively invisible.”
— Curled up with a Good Book

“A big existential present lovingly packaged in grease and suds … An anti-holiday antidote for those who take their humour black.”
— Hour

“A brilliant extended metaphor for the way our society works. The dialogue is by turns quizzical, snide, sarcastic, defiant and servilely accommodating.”
— Bloomberg News

“Morris Panych’s dark comedy The Dishwashers is reminiscent of a Samuel Beckett work, complete with existential philosophizing and dialogue that prompts wince-inducing laughter.”
— Patrick Lee, _Theatermania_

“The philosophical banter is original and fun. It brims with ideas that might nestle down well with the writing of Pinter, Beckett or Orwell.”
BBC Shropshire

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