CLOSING NOTES

People

A ménage à trois with Anton Chekhov

John Bemrose September 2 2002
CLOSING NOTES

People

A ménage à trois with Anton Chekhov

John Bemrose September 2 2002

People

CLOSING NOTES

A ménage à trois with Anton Chekhov

Albert Schultz, actor, director and occasional ham, sticks his head out of a second-floor window of his Toronto house and calls down to his wife, actress Susan Coyne, who sits in their garden: “Susan, darling, do you know where the powder is?” “How embarrassing,” Coyne says, feigning horror. “Now everyone will know that my husband wears makeup.” A bit later, nose powdered, Schultz, 39, emerges—ready for a photo shoot.

Canada’s first couple of theatre is in a jaunty mood. Soulpepper, the Toronto company they founded with 10 fellow actors in 1998, is sailing through its fifth season with its usual cargo of critical acclaim. As artistic director, Schultz acts,

directs and has charmed a raft-load of financial support. And leading lady Coyne, 44, is turning playwright, with The Old Business, a short piece about Anton Chekhov. It’ll be offered alongside four rarely performed Chekhov farces, two of which will be directed by Schultz. “Rehearsing Chekhov is like undergoing psychotherapy,” he claims. “What emerges is as devastating, exhilarating, messy and hilarious as life itself.”

Coyne, meanwhile, has been immersing herself in Chekhov’s life with some late-night reading. “Everyone who met him fell in love with him,” she remarks, adding that she too has fallen prey to his charms. “Yes,” drawls Schultz, acknowledging their theatrical ménage à trois, “Susan sleeps with Anton, and I’ve been seeing him at work.” JOHN BEMROSE

THEDETAILS

Soulpepper’s Absolutely Chekhov runs from Sept. 3-28

and consists of four plays by the Russian playwright (The Dangers of Tobacco, Swan Song, Summer in the Country,

The Bear) and one about Chekhov by Susan Coyne and Jason Sherman ( The Old Business).