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PL AYBILL parfumerie

Parfumerie miklÓs lÁszlÓ adapted by adam pettle and brenda robins }{

a pproxi m at e ru n ni ng t i m e: 2 hou rs & 15 m i nu t es t her e w ill be one 20 m i nu t e i n t er m ission

ARTIST NOTE: OLIVER DENNIS I wrote an artist note four years ago for this play. In it I somewhat tortured a metaphor comparing the “family” that works at Hammerschmidt and Co. with our family of theatre artists. This is our third time bringing it to you. Every two years this group of people (who live with me anywhere on a spectrum from love to adore) come together to try to recreate the alchemy that brought the original magic. It’s impossible. We’re different people than we were two years ago. Life has happened to us. Trish and Maev have had children and both have lost loved ones. Life has happened to us all. This changes us. That change can’t help but be reflected in the people that we play. So, the alchemy changes. We have this beautiful story to which we bring added perspective. And you will

bring your perspective. Your remembrances of missed opportunities, losses, young ones, old ones, unspoken loves, friendships, families… I have another metaphor for you: imagine dozens of satellites or electrons or little bright balls of light. And they’re floating around in space and time. And as if by calling or chance they come together, to be together, and share their little balls of light. And all of these little balls of light, by virtue of their proximity, blaze and shine brighter than the sum of their parts. That’s kind of what it feels like to do this play with and for all you little bright lights. I stand by both metaphors.

OLIVER DENNIS, George Asztalos in Parfumerie

ge n e rou s ly s u p p ort e d by



CAS T Maev Beaty

Miss Ratz / Shop Patron

Kevin Bundy

Miranda Mulholland

Violin / Shop Patron

Noah Reid

Stephan Kadash / Shop Patron

Jancsi / Shop Patron

Oliver Dennis

Brenda Robins

George Asztalos

Patricia Fagan

Rosie Balaz

Jeff Lillico

Arpad Krepus

Miss Molnar

Michael Simpson

William Webster

Detective / Policeman /  Shop Patron

Astrid Van Wieren

Second Lady/Shop Patron

Joseph Ziegler

Miklos Hammerschmidt

Louis Sipos

Kristina Uranowski

Shop Patron / A Roma

Produc tion Morris Panych

Noah Reid


Music Director/Composer

Ken MacDonald

John Lott

Set Designer

Dana Osborne

Costume Designer

Bonnie Beecher

Lighting Designer

Sound Designer

John Stead

Fight Director

Arwen MacDonell Stage Manager

Jessica Severin

Assistant Stage Manager

Christopher Whitlock

Apprentice Stage Manager

Kelly McEvenue

Alexander Coach

SOULPEPPER PRODUC T ION Jacqueline Robertson-Cull

Head of Hair & Makeup

Janet Pym

Barbara Nowakowski

First Hand

Kaz Maxine

Greg Chambers

Props Builder

Paul Boddum

Wardrobe Coordinator


Scenic Painter

Geoff Hughes

Isidra Cruz Natalie Swiercz

Assistant Technical Director



Kaileigh Krysztofiak

s p e c i a l t h a n k s: Ton da M a rton of t h e M a rton Age nc y ( N e w Yor k , NY ), Dav i d Hoe k s t r a .

Adam Pettle and Brenda Robins’ adaptation of Parfumerie is staged by arrangement with Pam Winter, Gary Goddard Agency and Alicia Jeffery, The Characters, Toronto, Canada. i l l u s t r at ion : b r i a n r e a



art of the pleasure of working at Soulpepper lies in discovering lesser known gems. Miklós László’s Parfumerie is one such pearl. Several years ago, Brenda Robins approached Albert about adapting it (along with Adam Pettle) for the company. It was an instantly appealing project for many reasons, not least of which is that it takes place at Christmas. Written in 1937, the play is an affectionate homage to László’s native city of Budapest, from the well-heeled denizens of café society (who lived in Buda) to the hardworking shop clerks and waiters (who lived in Pest). His portrait is all the more poignant given that less than two years later the War changed the city forever.

The genius of the play is Miklós László’s elegant, insightful exploration of longing. Mr. Sipos longs unrequited for job security, Mr. Hammerschmidt longs unrequited for his wife who’s having an affair with one of his employees, Miss Molnar longs unrequited for Mr. Hammerschmidt (though this is a brilliant additional longing put in by our adaptors Brenda Robins and Adam Pettle). Even Arpad, the delivery boy, has a great desire: to rise to the exalted position of sales clerk. Most notable in their longing, of course, are Miss Rosanna Balaz and Mr. George Asztalos, the co-workers who can barely tolerate each other but who, unbeknownst to both of them, have been writing passionate love letters to each other for more than a year. Already a full-blown romance on paper, George and Rosie’s intimate relationship is just dawning in real life. For two-thirds of the action we know more than the characters do and we can savour their inexorable coming together. Falling in love sight unseen is very modern too: how many hopeful lovers these days exchange e-mails before they actually come face to face? At work George and Rosie have their guards up. In letters they can fully express their hopes, their dreams, their vulnerability. Mind you, they’re exceptionally cautious correspondants. For a year they do not even move to the familiarity of first names. (Fortunately, since if they did there would be no play.) “Dear Friend,” each of them writes, hopefully.

Well, who doesn’t long for love? Who doesn’t hope for a lover who finds us so charming and stimulating that we become charming and stimulating even to ourselves? Ideal lovers in our minds, Mr. László gently points out, can sometimes obscure the lovers who are right in front of us. George and Rosie are made for each other but they’re so busy bickering and insisting on their rights they don’t even notice. Surrender to this revival of Parfumerie: another opportunity to connect to the vision of Miklós László, whose flawed but fiercely hopeful human beings try and fail and try again, thank God undaunted.

Au t hor Biograph y Miklós László (born Nicholaus Leitner) was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1903. At the time of his birth, there was a push for non-Hungarian citizens to take an indigenous name as part of a “cultural unification” initiative. His family was wealthy and connected to the entertainment business, allowing the young László creative opportunities to write short plays for various small theatres and cabarets around Budapest. His first full-length play The Happiest Man (1934) won the Hungarian Royal Academy Award for Literature (the equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize). Parfumerie (1937), László’s most popular work, has been adapted into three feature films and one Broadway musical. László’s other plays – most of them never translated into English – continue to be popular and frequently produced in his native Hungary.

Background Notes by Paula Wing


416 866 8666 Young Centre for the Performing Arts Toronto Distillery Historic District

Soulpepper Theatre Company is an active member of the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres (pact), the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts (tapa) and Theatre Ontario, and engages, under the terms of the Canadian Theatre Agreement, professional artists who are members of Canadian Actors’ Equity Association. Scenic  A rtists and Set Decorators employed by Soulpepper Theatre Company are represented by Local 828 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees. The musician engaged for this production is a member of the Toronto Musicians’ Association, Local 149 of the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada.

Do stay in touch, and please pass the pepper!




Parfumerie playbill  

Playbill for Soulpepper Theatre's 2013 production of Parfumerie. Written by Miklós László, adapted by Adam Pettle & Brenda Robins