Soulpepper’s Albert Schultz on eating beetles and the one thing he thinks Conrad Black is lying about

Soulpepper’s Albert Schultz on eating beetles and the one thing he thinks Conrad Black is lying about

Five things you didn’t know about the Soulpepper head honcho, who plays the title role in a marathon production of the comic trilogy The Norman Conquests

Quote-Unquote: Albert Schultz
(Image: Nathan Kelly/Soulpepper)

1 | He shares a barber with a certain former newspaper baron
“The only person I let cut my hair is Bruno at Ivan’s Hair Salon on Victoria Street, who also cuts Conrad Black’s hair. Black tells people he’s never seen Shades of Black, the TV movie I played him in—I don’t believe him.”

2 | Shakespeare almost killed him
“When I was 19 years old, I was walking in Banff and reciting Richard II when a hard-backed beetle flew into my mouth and lodged itself in my throat. I could feel it with my fingers, but I couldn’t get it out for hours. If I was very still, it wouldn’t do anything, but the minute I swallowed, it would start to buzz. It was like a David Cronenberg movie in my neck.”

3 | He’s obsessed with the First World War
“As a very young actor I was cast in both a movie and a play about WWI within a year of each other, and I’ve been consumed by it ever since. I can barely talk about it without crying. I want to remount Billy Bishop Goes to War at Soulpepper to coincide with the 100th anniversary, though I haven’t asked Eric Peterson yet.”

4 | He’s a twitcher, and a competitive one
“When I phone my brother—who is a lawyer in Ottawa, and a bird geek like me—he knows right away by the tone of my voice that I’m about to gloat about a bird I just saw. My partner, Leslie, spotted a great grey owl at our farm in Northumberland County. She described it to me, and I told her what it was—with a great sense of resentment. It hasn’t been seen since.”

5 | He’s tempted to cheat onstage
“Being in Norman is going to be a lot of fun, but I haven’t acted in two years, and I’m constantly busy with planning for Soulpepper, so my big fear is becoming the kind of actor who doesn’t learn his lines. When Willem Defoe was in the Marina Abramović show at Luminato in June, he used a teleprompter. I saw it and thought, That could work.”


The Norman Conquests
The Young Centre
50 Tank House Ln.
Sept. 27 to Nov. 16