Theatre alum and two-time Canadian Comedy Award-winner Sam Mullins has made a career of sharing his own life experiences on stage . . . whether they be the angst-ridden and tender moments of a 16-year-old falling in love for the first time, some hilarious and life-changing requests while working as a waiter, or the bleary-eyed joys and profound revelations of becoming a new father.
Now, the Department of Theatre is honoured to present Sam Mullins in Weaksauce & Other Stories as this year’s Spotlight on Alumni, running October 9 to 19. Described as a “master storyteller” (Winnipeg Free Press) and the “Stuart McLean of the millennial generation” (Toronto Star), Mullins performs the moments of his life on stages at Fringe Festivals, on radio programs, and at storytelling competitions and events across North America.
Weaksauce & Other Stories is a greatest-hits collection of his award-winning stories, including the full-length version of his five-time Best-of-the-Fest-winning story Weaksauce; the premiere of a new story about fatherhood; and two 10-minute-long stories based on his shows Tinfoil Dinosaur and The Untitled Sam Mullins Project.
Weaksauce tells the story of the summer Sam turned 16, when he left home to work as a camp counsellor only to be blindsided by the first great romance of his life. This achingly angsty and tender coming-of-age story is a comedy of first times, second chances and third wheels. Toronto’s Now Magazine called it “Fresh, funny and heart-poundingly alive.”
“Weaksauce is my favourite thing I’ve ever written,” says Mullins. “It poured out of me over a weekend during a 2012 heatwave in my childhood bedroom in the Okanagan. If every first draft came as easily to me, I would have so much more spare time!,” he joked from Toronto, where he makes his home with his wife and daughter.“I’m delighted to return back to the stage where my theatre journey began. Truly everything I know about theatre I learned inside those walls. It is a very special place to me, and I couldn’t be more pleased to be bringing my most special piece back here.”
As a storyteller, Mullins has been a contributor to NPR’s This American Life, The Moth, CBC’s Definitely Not the Opera and the RISK! Podcast. He has also worked as a staff writer on CBC’s Air Farce New Year’s Eve Special and for five years on the CBC radio sketch program The Irrelevant Show.
The public is invited to a free preshow lecture at 7pm Friday, October 11 with Sam Mullins in conversation with Theatre professor Peter McGuire as they discuss Sam’s life as a touring Fringe artist and comedy writer. (Please note that Weaksauce & Other Stories includes some coarse language and is suitable for ages 16 & up.)
The Phoenix Theatre’s 2019-20 season continues this fall with Shakespeare’s classic tragedy Othello (November 7-23) directed by professor Brian Richmond. In the spring, professor Conrad Alexandrowicz directs Alan Ayckbourn’s sci-fi satire Comic Potential (February 13-22), and the season closes with professor Peter McGuire directing The Children’s Hour (March 12 – 21), Lillian Hellman’s drama about the power of lies and two women who risk everything for the truth to be heard.