Stage Door News

Toronto: Canadian Stage launches its 2022/23 season with “Public Enemy” by Olivier Choinière

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Kicking off a bold and ambitious 22.23 season this fall at the Berkeley Street Theatre, Canadian Stage is thrilled to present the English-language premiere of Siminovitch Prize winner Olivier Choinière’s blistering and provocative PUBLIC ENEMY, in a new translation commissioned by the company from Bobby Theodore. Inviting audiences to a family dinner as never seen before, PUBLIC ENEMY positions the global chasm of political polarization within a quotidian and domestic milieu, putting a mirror to one of the most defining social issues of the current moment.Canadian Stage Artistic Director Brendan Healy directs this season-opening production, leading an exemplary cast of actors including Rosemary Dunsmore, Matthew Edison, Jonathan. Goad, Michelle Monteith, and Amy Rutherford.

“Olivier Choinière is one of the most energizing playwrights working in Quebec right now and we are extremely excited to bring this work to English Canada,” says Healy. “PUBLIC ENEMY is a play about polarization and the way that our interpersonal relationships are falling victim to the energy of the world right now. While he first presented the play in 2015, the extremity of the political divide in North America has only become more exaggerated, making this work all the more urgent. It speaks immediately to the here and now and does so within a highly naturalistic approach and a very innovative and theatrically exciting contemporary structure.”

“I am so thrilled by the company of performers that have signed on to create this production with me,” Healy adds. “These are some of the most compelling and talented stage actors in this country and I think they come together to paint a really dynamic picture of a contemporary family – I can’t wait to get into the rehearsal hall with them.”

In PUBLIC ENEMY, the always subversive Choinière fuses painstakingly choreographed rapid-fire dialogue with elements of the fantastical, charting through moments both eerily recognizable and piercingly insightful. The play was first presented in 2015 at Montreal’s Theatre Aujourd’hui and won the Michel-Tremblay Prize and the Reviewers’ Association Award for best text for that year. Olivier Choinière is a graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada’s playwriting program who first made a name for himself with Le bain des raines (1998), one of three of his works to be shortlisted for a Governor General’s Award. Outside of Quebec his work has been performed at the National Arts Centre and London’s Royal Court Theatre. Among his many awards Choinière was the recipient of the 2014 Victor Martyn Lynch Staunton Award for the Performing Arts from the Canada Council for the Arts (2014), the prestigious Siminovitch Prize (2014) and the Gascon-Thomas Award (2015).

For this premiere production, Healy is joined by set designer Julie Fox, lighting designer Kimberley Purtell, sound designer Richard Feren, and costume designer Ming Wong, rounding out the creative team.

Tickets for PUBLIC ENEMY range from $29-$89. Single tickets are now available at This production runs from September 20th – October 2nd, 2022, with performances at 8:00pm Tuesday – Saturday, 2:00pm matinees Saturdays and Sundays and a 1:00PM matinee on Wednesday Sept 28.

Photo: Jonathan Goad, Michelle Monteith and Matthew Edison. © 2022.