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Winners and Losers

Winners and Losers
Your Price: $16.95 CDN
Author: Marcus Youssef & James Long
Foreword by: Jenn Stephenson
Publisher: Talonbooks
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 128
Pub. Date: 2015
ISBN-10: 0889229325
ISBN-13: 9780889229327
Cast Size: 2 men or 2 women

About the Play:

Finalist for the 2015 Governor General's Literary Award (Canadian-equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize)

Winners and Losers is a full-length drama by Marcus Youssef and James Long. Two actors play a "hot-topic" wrangling game of "winners and losers" in which they skim over myriad issues and politics, framed by their personal histories, taking opposing points of view.

Winners and Losers is a staged conversation performance piece in which a pair of actors sit at a table and test the bounds and bonds of friendship in a battle of unlike minds. They play a game they made up called "winners and losers." In it, there are no sacred cows and no taboo subjects as they name various people, places or things and argue whether, from their perspective, they were winners or losers, including themselves. With debate subjects updated for every city, what starts out as a friendly competition between friends quickly becomes personal as they unpack layers of privilege, status symbols, and class divisions each seeking to defeat the other.

Winners and Losers premiered in 2012 at Gateway Theatre in Richmond, BC and was selected from a group of more than 30 entries as a finalist in the Governor General Award drama category. What started out as an acting exercise for its creators turned into a show that has toured 12 countries and enjoyed an extended off-Broadway run to full houses and rave reviews at Soho Rep in New York City. Originally performed by Marcus Youssef and co-creator James Long, the play has also been performed as all-female version.

Cast: 2 men or 2 women

What people say:

"…a frisky theatrical symposium...articulate, funny and breezily charming." — The New York Times

"Winners and Losers hits the bull’s-eye… a sly, utterly successful production." — Village Voice

"As the gloves come off, the intensity increases. The guiding theory behind the game is that you can't have two winners sitting next to each other; for there to be a winner, the men reason, there has to be a loser." — Globe and Mail

"Winners and Losers is a loser if you want a traditional, controlled theater experience that doesn't make you squirm at its awkward, winding vamps and volleys...[but] Winners and Losers is a winner once it starts to think big. ... An ethical high ground is at stake. ... the personal becomes intensely political. ... victimhood rears its ugly head and the (finally) resonant competition has you leaning in by its pitch-perfect, heavy ending. ... What gets in your head are the spot-on depictions, large and small, of people abusing candor and bending the rules in an inescapable race to come out on top." — Washington Post

"Winners and Losers looks a lot like open heart surgery. Metaphoric blood is spilled but, strangely, the experience for the audience is exhilarating. The possibility that friendship can survive or even be strengthened by such excruciating honesty is inspirational and opens up floodgates of introspection." — Vancouver Courier

About the Playwrights:

Marcus Youssef is a Canadian playwright, artistic director, and author. Born in Montreal to Egyptian parents, he has often made diversity and the ideas of difference and diversity themes in his work, some of which were co-written with friends and colleagues. His works have been performed at theatres and festivals (and school gyms) across Canada, the US, Australia and Europe. He was named the 2017 recipient of the Siminovitch Prize, Canada's most prestigious prize in Theatre. He currently lives in Vancouver British Columbia, where he continues his work with community-based advocacy programs that use writing and/or theatre as tools for effecting political and social change.

James Long is a Canadian actor and writer. As a freelance actor and director, he has been part of Vancouver's independent theatre scene since 1995 and is co-artistic director of Theatre Replacement. He is a graduate of Simon Fraser University's School for the Contemporary Arts.

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