Soup Can Theatre: Barber’s A Hand of Bridge, Sartre’s No Exit

“Press releases and announcements” are presented verbatim without comment.


Samuel Barber’s
A Hand of Bridge
(Libretto by Gian Carlo Menotti)


Jean Paul Sartre’s
(Translation by Stuart Gilbert)

A Special Double Bill Presentation!
March 27th to 30th at the Tapestry New Opera Studio in the Historic Distillery District

“… Hell is Other People …”

Soup Can Theatre is proud to present a bold and genre-blending double bill: Celebrated American composer Samuel Barber’s playful, compact, and contemporary opera A Hand of Bridge (libretto by Gian Carlo Menotti), and renowned existential philosopher and Nobel Prize-winning playwright Jean Paul Sartre’s dark and groundbreaking masterpiece No Exit (translation by Stuart Gilbert).

Barber (best known for his stirring Adagio for Strings) premiered this tuneful and bite-sized opera in 1959 in Spoleto, Italy as part of the ‘Festival of New Worlds’. Set in the midst of a game of bridge being played by two emotionally-strained, upper middle-class couples, A Hand of Bridge weaves together quintessential operatic themes, such as jealousy, envy, and unrequited love, with unexpected and unapologetically intimate topics (for the time), such as marital infidelity and bisexuality. Director and Music Director Pratik Gandhi comments, “The music is quite charming and is a great example of mid-20th century eclecticism, bridging centuries-old traditions with new and unconventional ideas – including some drawn from popular music. The approachable nature of Barber’s score belies the more poignant and striking moments that form the core of the libretto, giving their delivery a surprisingly strong impact.”

In Sartre’s No Exit, three recently deceased strangers with shadowy pasts find themselves trapped together in a room in Hell with only three chairs and a grotesque bronze sculpture as the sum total of their new existence. The trio quickly realize that torture and eternal torment do not come at the hands of demons with hot pokers, but rather from each other’s words, thoughts, urges, and actions. Even though No Exit was written in 1944, it still manages to reflect present day issues with chilling accuracy. Director Sarah Thorpe elaborates: “With bullying frequently making front page news, and the realm of social media acting as a playground for anonymous harassment, Sartre’s central idea that “Hell is other people” is, sadly, just as true today as it was six decades ago. The psychological universality of this works is a testament to its importance and insight – and one of the reasons we are excited to share it with the public.”

Bringing these classic works to life is a remarkable cast – all rising stars in their respective fields of opera and theatre – backed by a live fourteen piece orchestra. Enhancing the emotionally claustrophobic flavour of the two pieces, Soup Can Theatre’s production will be performed in the round on a custom built stage in the Tapestry New Opera Studio, located in Toronto’s beautiful and historic Distillery District.

Two genres, two classic works, one unforgettable evening.

Past praise for Soup Can Theatre includes:

“Daring … Entertaining and heady theatre … It’s Hard not to be Blown Away by this Young Company’s Strength and Ambition … ★★★★★Theatromania
“Powerful … Elegant … Expertly Staged … ★★★★★Torontoist
“Impressive … Seductive … Uniformly delectable … N N N N NNOW Magazine
“Stellar … Thoroughly Entertaining … Constantly delights … ★★★★Eye Weekly
“Breathtaking … Impeccable … Outstanding”Mooney on Theatre

Performance Details:

Tapestry New Opera Studio
9 Trinity Street, Studio 315
Distillery Historic District
Toronto, Ontario, M5A 3C4

Wednesday March 27th, 7:30 pm
Thursday March 28th, 7:30 pm
Friday March 29th (Good Friday), 2:00 pm*
Friday March 29th, 7:30 pm
Saturday March 30th, 2:00 pm
Saturday March 30th, 7:30 pm

Tickets range from $16 to $25. Student/Senior/Arts Worker discounts are available.
Tickets can be purchased at

*This performance does not include A Hand of Bridge and has been discounted accordingly.


Please direct all media inquiries, including interview and coverage requests (We’d be happy to have you join us!), to Justin Haigh at
High-res press photos will be available soon. Please contact Justin Haigh for details or check for updates.


Alvaro Vazquez Robles – ‘Bill’ (A Hand of Bridge)
Carolyn Hall – ‘Estelle’ (No Exit)
Daniel Pagett – ‘Garcin’ (No Exit)
Keith O’Brien* – ‘David’ (A Hand of Bridge)
Ryan Anning – ‘The Valet’ (No Exit)
Shilpa Sharma – ‘Sally’ (A Hand of Bridge)
Taylor Strande – ‘Geraldine’ (A Hand of Bridge)
Tennille Read – ‘Inez’ (No Exit)

*Keith O’Brien appears courtesy of the Canadian Actors’ Equity Association

Cast bios are available here.

Creative and Production Team:

Pratik Gandhi – Director / Music Director (A Hand of Bridge)
Sarah Thorpe – Director (No Exit), Co-Producer
Justin Haigh – Dramaturge / Sound Designer / Set Co-Designer (No Exit), Co-Producer
Randy Lee – Lighting Designer, Set Co-Designer (No Exit)
Katherine Belyea – Stage Manager (A Hand of Bridge)
Elle Mills – Stage Manager (No Exit)
Nick MacInnes – Co-Producer
Leslie Thorpe-Dermody – Props Manager
Scott Dermody – Executive Producer

Creative Team bios are available here.


Pratik Gandhi – Conductor
Laura Bolt – Flute
Joanna Shuster – Oboe
Katie Arnup – Clarinet
Elena Cimolai – Bassoon
Erika Schengili-Roberts – Trumpet
Suzan Kim – Piano
Justin Han – Percussion
Kevin Wong, Lindsay Naft – Violins
Daniela Gassi, Kevin Belvedere – Violas
Cory Latkovich, Danielle Weber-Adrian – Cello
Liam Gallagher – Bass

About Soup Can Theatre:

Soup Can Theatre is a vibrant Toronto-based theatre company dedicated to the reinterpretation of classic theatre for a twenty-first century audience. Our aim is to use existing works as a means to explore and comment on contemporary issues and societal challenges, and in so doing, to offer our audiences a theatrical experience that is both entertaining and enriching.

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