Winners and Losers

Winners and Losers

  • Rent or buy a full performance of Winners and Losers from OntheBoardsTV.
  • Free 3-part audio version available through CBC PlayME podcast (as of Jan. 27, 2021).

In 2011, Marcus and James Long of Theatre Replacement were making a play – a Kafka-esque thing about two office workers. To warm up they played a game called ‘winners and losers’: name a person, place or thing and debated whether it’s a winner or a loser. They also made long lists of various skills or attributes (parenting, wrestling, cooking, ping pong, etc.) and debated who was better at them. They recorded and transcribed it all, and when they read it back, they realized the games were better and more dangerous than the play they were writing. Because the game was real.

Less than 5 years later, Winners and Losers has had over 100 performances in 17 cities. The play has been published by Talonbooks, filmed live and streamed online by On The Boards TV, and been seen by thousands of theatre-goers around the world. Through it all, we’ve collaborated with our good friends at Theatre Replacement. Which is ironic, in a way. It’s a show about competition and the destructive impact of capitalism and privilege on our most intimate relationships. And we created and produced in the most collaborative, mutually supportive way we can imagine. And yes, they’re still friends. Maybe it doesn’t get any more real than that.

  • “Tour de force… The men’s virtuoso wordplay is a delight… Winners and Losers is heady stuff. Formidable, indeed.” ★★★★ – The Globe and Mail
  • “Winners and Losers is the kind of play that makes you want to talk and, better still, to listen.” ★★★★ – Time Out New York
  • ” … Sly, utterly successful … scores because of the ambiguities it cultivates. What starts as a sly and often funny game of differences ends up as a nuanced and unsettling show.” – The Village Voice 
  • “A sly theatrical microcosm of how people compete” – The New Yorker
  • “Both Youssef and Long radiate tremendous charm and vivacity… The effect is devastating and strangely invigorating. One leaves the theatre feeling entertained, exhilarated, psychologically flagellated” – Victoria Times Colonist

Written and performed by Marcus Youssef and James Long / Directed by Chris Abraham / Lighting by Jonathan Ryder / Stage & Production management by Elia Kirby.

Co-produced with Theatre Replacement in association with Crow’s Theatre (Toronto).


November 22 – December 1, 2012, The Gateway Theatre, Studio B, Richmond Canada (WORLD PREMIERE)

January 30 – February 2, 2013, PuSh International Performing Arts Festival, Vancouver Canada

May 22 – 24, 2013, Brighton Festival, Brighton Dome Studio Theatre, Brighton UK

May 27 – 29, 2013, Festival TransAmériques, Espace Libre, Montreal Canada

June 11 – 15, 2013, Magnetic North Theatre Festival, Ottawa Canada

August 23 – 25, 2013, Noorderzon Performing Arts Festival, Groningen Netherlands

August 28 & 29, 2013, Lokal, Reykjavik Iceland

September 3 – 5, 2013, Aarhus Festival, Aarhus Denmark

September 22 – 23, 2013, Terni Festival, Terni Italy

September 26 – 29, 2013, Dublin Theatre Festival, Dublin Ireland

November 10 – December 8, 2013, Canadian Stage, Berkley Street Theatre, Toronto Canada

April 11 & 12, 2014, Intrepid Theatre, Metro Theatre, Victoria Canada

April 23 – 27, 2014, On the Boards, Northwest Series, Seattle USA

June 26 – 28, 2014, Foreign Affairs Festival, Berlin Germany

January 2 – February 1, 2015, Soho Rep, New York USA

March 20 & 21, 2015, University Theatre, UBC Okanagan, Kelowna Canada

April 9 – 18, 2015, Citadel Theatre, Edmonton Canada

October 26 – November 22, 2015, Woolly Mammoth, Washington DC

February 16 – 27 2016, The Cultch, Vancouver Canada

March 3, 2016, Vernon and Distict Performing Arts Centre, Vernon Canada

January 25-28, 2017, High Performance Rodeo, Calgary Canada,

March 24-26, 2017, Artists Repertory Theatre, Portland USA


Written and performed by Marcus Youssef and James Long
Directed by Chris Abraham
Lighting by Jonathan Ryder
Stage & Production management by Elia Kirby

Co-produced with Theatre Replacement in association with Crow’s Theatre (Toronto)

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