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Your Price: $18.95 CDN
Author: Morris Panych
Publisher: Talonbooks
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 138
Pub. Date: 2016
ISBN-10: 0889229848
ISBN-13: 9780889229846

Sextet is a full-length dark comedy by Morris Panych. When a snowstorm strands a touring string sextet for an extra night, they have only their instruments to distract them from unspent dreams, bad relationships and the incessant streams of their guilty consciences.

Music has long been considered beneficial in enhancing cognitive skills, and some have even suggested that music constitutes its own category of brain function; that it is, in fact, a separate and distinct type of thought. As is sex, which can produce, aside from children, complete dysfunction, confused mental activity – even, quite possibly, a compromised immune system, and certainly, in many cases, complete and utter memory loss – both before and after. It seemed only natural, then, for playwright Morris Panych to put these two types of human experience together into one play. After all, both take practice.

In Sextet two violinists, two violists, and two cellists are stranded by a blizzard and must check into the nearest motel – where there are only four available rooms. On this last night of their ill-fated winter tour, the members of the sextet have only their instruments, their secrets, and each other to keep them warm. Where will everyone sleep when everyone has slept with everyone else? Underscored by their struggles to come to terms with their failing careers, failing marriages and unfulfilled desires, the sextet tries to prepare for a show; weather permitting. How long can they keep their composure before a blizzard of sexual confusion buries them all? Tired of the selections from Brahms and Schubert these sexually entangled musicians at last confront their harmonies and dysfunctions. In the full light of the moon, all their unrequited love and lust comes pouring out. This well-orchestrated game of "musical rooms" is also an homage to the transcendent power of beautiful music.

Sextet premiered in 2014 in the Mainspace at Tarragon Theatre in Toronto, Ontario.

Cast: 2 women, 4 men

What people say:

"These six stories play out side by side – six skinny rooms with thin doors and narrow beds, blurring into each other. It's like a standard sex-farce set on fertility drugs." — Globe and Mail

"...not only the best new play I've seen in this year, it also may very well be the best script that Morris Panych has ever written. ...Sextet is not just a wonderfully entertaining piece of theatre, it will make you think about love, sex, procreation, and music in ways you've never done before." — Toronto Star

About the Playwright:

Morris Panych is one of Canada's most significant contemporary playwrights. He has written more than 25 works for the stage and directed nearly 100. He is the winner of two Governor General's Literary Awards for Drama, the country's most prestigious literary honour. He has won 14 Jessie Richardson Awards, three Sidney Riske Writing Awards and five Dora Mavor Moore Awards.