Pulitzer-winning play starring ‘Degrassi’ actor opens at Toronto’s Canadian Stage
Mazin Elsadig and Sabastien Heins star in Topdog/Underdog at Canadian Stage. Dahlia Katz/Canadian Stage
Published Wednesday, September 27, 2023 3:34PM EDT
A new play featuring a former “Degrassi: The Next Generation” star opens tonight at Canadian Stage in Toronto.
“Topdog/Underdog,” written by Suzan-Lori Parks and directed by Tawiah M’Carthy, explores the relationship between two brothers, Lincoln and Booth, who are haunted by their pasts as well as their names.
The 2002 Pulitzer Prize-winning play has been hotly anticipated in Toronto following a successful Broadway revival and an acclaimed run at the Shaw Festival in 2011.
The local run of the play stars “Degrassi” alum Mazin Elsadig and Toronto actor Sebastien Heins.
“This play is so, so important,” Elsadig, known for playing Damian on "Degrassi: The Next Generation," said in an interview with CP24.
“It’s important for Black folks especially – the play has always been in my consciousness. When the play came across my desk a few months ago, I read it and loved it.”
Elsadig may have made a name for himself on the reboot of Canada’s most beloved teen soap opera, but he says the process of making theatre holds a special place in his heart.
“You’re really digging into the character, and doing the work, and building your character from the ground up,” he said.
“You’re throwing in all the nuances, in all three dimensions. Stage was a first love for me – there’s something romantic about it.”
Elsadig says Topdog/Underdog’s Putlizer win is richly deserved.
In his estimation, the play “brings something different” upon each new reading, making it a powerful piece for audiences and creatives alike.
“I take away something different every time I read it,” said Elsadig.
“You’re thinking about human nature, and brothers, and the American dream. There’s so much. There’s so much specificity in the play, and in a way that specificity is what makes it so relatable.”
“Topdog/Underdog” is the premiere show of Canadian Stage’s 2023 season, and its run has already been extended until Oct. 15 due to audience demand.
“There’s so much to love,” said Elsadig. “As a Black boy, it’s so easy to love this text, every time I tackle it, and every time I go onstage with it.”