Soheil Parsa has earned many of the country’s highest theatre honours.
For more than two weeks now, actors, designers, and the entire team at Theatre New Brunswick have been working in preparation for this week’s opening performance of Vigil, an award-winning comedy by Canadian playwright Morris Panych. This production represents a major milestone in the history of one of Canada’s longest-running regional theatre companies. On Thursday night, TNB will begin their first two-week production run, in the newest theatre in Canada, under the guidance of one of the country’s most celebrated contemporary theatre directors, Soheil Parsa.
Born in Iran in 1954, Parsa studied Theatre Performance at the University of Tehran. After the Islamic Revolution in 1979, the theatre was repressed and Parsa was unable to continue his profession. Escaping to Canada with his family in 1984, he went on to obtain his second Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Performance at York University, before establishing the highly successful Modern Times Stage Company with artistic collaborator Peter Farbridge.
“For me, Soheil Parsa is among the greatest directors in the world,” said TNB Artistic Director Thomas Morgan Jones. “As a young theatre artist, I admired and was hugely inspired by his productions. Not only is Soheil one of the most talented directors today, but he is also one of the finest and kindest men. It is one of the greatest honours and joys of my career to welcome him to TNB.”
Parsa, together with a cast and creative team that includes actors Paul Dunn and Linda Goranson, along with set and lighting designer Kaitlin Hickey, costume designer Sherry Kinnear and sound designer/composer Michael Doherty, has been working to shape this production over the past few weeks.
“The play is beautifully written,” said Parsa. “The piece allows the actor to really engage himself and find different intentions and different shifts constantly. It has a great movement to it. The challenge for me as a director was to find those movements.”
Vigil opens Thursday October 22 at TNB’s brand new theatre located at 55 Whiting Road in Fredericton.
“The play is shaping up very well,” he said. “As a director, if I get engaged I feel the audience will get engaged. Whenever I get bored, I realize something isn’t working. That’s why I revisit these scenes and negotiate every possibility until we find the essence of each scene and eventually the essence of the entire play.”