Still LaughingFront Cover
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    ISBN: 9780889226241 | Paperback

    320 pages | Pub. Date: 20100131
    5.50 W × 8.50 H × 0.75 D inches
    Backlist | Drama | Bisac: DRA000000
    Rights: WORLD

Still Laughing
Three Adaptations by Morris Panych
By Morris Panych
Introduction by Jerry Wasserman

The universal mark of good satire is still to make audiences laugh at the worst traits in human nature. Here, in his own words, is how Morris Panych updated these three great comedy classics from a century ago: The Government Inspector is peopled with the most duplicitous, under-handed and shifty characters ever to appear in literature; yet, they are funny. “I made the lead character Khlestakov and his companion Osip former members of an acting troupe, to open up the fourth wall of the theatre. Inspired by Gogol himself, who has the characters speak to the audience directly in the last scene, this is not really a post-modern indulgence, but part of a long theatrical tradition of direct audience address.

“There are certain literary subjects that hardly change over time; sex isn’t one of them. Take Viagra and cosmetic surgery, for example. These are fertile subjects for absurd comedy particular to our time. With Hotel Peccadillo, I wanted to play up, but also comment on the notion of hypocrisy as it relates to infidelity—the play was written a hundred years ago, without the hind-sight of Feydeau’s own death from syphilis. To that end, I made the author the landlord of his bordello—to include him in the farce, to heighten the irony.

“In changing Schnitzler’s The Amorous Adventures of Anatol from a 1902 Austrian play to a 2007 Canadian one, the most important decision I made was to have all the female characters played by one actress. Because of this, the audience becomes complicit in a casting trick: knowing that for Anatol, all women are the same. While it’s a truism that much as people appear to change throughout history, their essential human nature does not, in this play Anatol becomes the only victim of our elaborate theatrical illusion.”

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

By 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 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. His classic 7 Stories ranks 9th among the ten best selling plays in Canada, outselling the Coles version of Romeo & Juliet.

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Introduction by Jerry Wasserman

Professor of English and Theatre at the University of British Columbia and a professional actor, Jerry Wasserman has written and lectured widely on Canadian theatre, dramatic literature, theatre history, modern fiction, and blues music; publicly interviewed writers and theatre artists ranging from Margaret Atwood to Stephen Sondheim; and served for over fifteen years as a drama critic on CBC Radio. He is currently theatre critic for The Province newspaper and editor of, an informative Web site that provides up-to-date listings and reviews of local theatre performances. Wasserman grew up in New York and attained an M.A. in English from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. from Cornell, specializing in twentieth-century literature and drama. He started teaching at UBC in 1972; though his initial research focus was on fiction, his work in the theatre as an actor soon led him to teach mainly drama courses, eventually creating a course in Canadian drama.

In addition to his scholarly accomplishments, Wasserman continues to maintain a busy career as an actor. A seasoned veteran on the Vancouver theatre scene, he has also made over two hundred appearances on film and television. For more information on Wasserman and his work, please visit his faculty webpage. His acting credits may also be found here.

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