I am Furious...yellow
Where are the artists?
by Gaëtan L. Charlebois
I have worked both sides of the linguistic divide, both sides of the artistic fence (creator, critic), more pure laine than me and you start going baa-a-a-a, but I will never understand artists in this province. We're an incredibly noisy bunch - protecting the environment with screams of protest, yelling about creating a nation, marching en masse to protest foreign wars but sometimes, when it is incredibly important and the stakes couldn't be higher, when we must speak with one voice, I question whether or not we actually have the yarbles.
What led to the protest was not nearly as important that it was the first time theatre artists stood together and told the Tories they were united.
Last week, theatres - big and small - from across the country banded together to protest the federal cutback on a grant to Toronto's SummerWorks festival. Part of the protest was about the cut, but another part of it was the strong suspicion that the cut was the result of the fest having presented a particular play, Catherine Frid's Homegrown, last year. The play, about the peculiar real-life relationship between Frid and an accused terrorist, was branded by the right as pro-terrorist. What led to the protest - a series of readings of Frid's play - was not nearly as important as the fact that it was the first time theatre artists stood together and told the Tories they were united.
A reading was cobbled together by good folk, but it was a day late and a community short.
Not a single goddam company in Quebec chimed in; not Centaur or TNM, not Segal or Rideau Vert, not Tableau d'Hote nor Prospéro or anyone! Despite the will being there to stage a reading, despite my Facebook, Twitter and Google+ feeds being saturated with protests of every sort, no company stood up to join the readings of Frid's play last Friday night. A reading was finally cobbled together by good folk, but it was a day late and a community short.
When I questioned why, on the various feeds, this had happened one very angry person said that it was because everyone was either mounting musicals (read: at Juste Pour Rire or Centaur) or were afraid of losing fed cash like SummerWorks had.
This is not just sad. It's shameful. It also sends a very clear message to the Conservatives that Orange may have swept this province in the last election but deep down we're really yellow.