from joel fishbane
Dear Stratford Shakespeare Festival:
I am writing with great concern over the way you have chosen to conduct the search for your festival’s new Artistic Director. A series of private interviews behind closed doors is no way to generate interest in the contest. If the Republican Primaries are any indication, the public is hungry for a media firestorm centered around a dramatic competition with a completely manufactured narrative.
I would like to formally offer you the chance to flirt with idea of naming me as a candidate for Artistic Director.
As the reported front-runner, Antoni Cimolino has already emerged as the Mitt Romney of your campaign; your next step is to leak to the media outlets that you are flirting with several dark horse candidates. These candidates would not have to be ideal selections – in fact, as the Republican primaries have shown, the less competent they are, the more attention they will receive. To this end, I would like to formally offer you the chance to flirt with idea of naming me as a candidate for Artistic Director.
Together, I believe we can inspire the Canadian media to bring publicity to your festival through the creation of a circus-like atmosphere. First, we will schedule a series of televised debates (thirty or so would probably suffice, but I’m happy to discuss more). Each debate could be hosted by a series of prestigious judges, such as a panel from the recently cancelled So You Think You Can Dance, Canada!. I would also suggest involving Anne-France Goldwater, Quebec’s “Judge Judy”, to lend the occasion the sort of gravitas it deserves.
I could attack Mr. Cimolino for his belief that Shakespeare actually wrote his own plays...
Ostensibly, we would use these debates as a way of holding a spirited discussion regarding the future of Canadian theatre. Of course, it would really be an excuse for some entertaining personal attacks and humiliating verbal gaffes. I could attack Mr. Cimolino for his belief that Shakespeare actually wrote his own plays (thereby accusing him of alienating Oxfordians, a powerful and often ignored demographic). Ideally, Mr. Cimolino would respond by remarking on my dubious moral character and questionable taste in shoes. I would return the rebuke by revealing that from the moment he graduated from the University of Windsor, Mr. Cimolino has worked as an actor, director, stage manager, fundraiser and even helped establish a performing arts centre in El Salvador. “Really, sir!” I will say. “Find a job and stick to it!”
From now on, Mr. Shakespeare and his friends can peddle their pro-Britannia jingoistic iambic pentameter somewhere else!
I could also launch a comprehensive website announcing my bold strategy for the future of the Stratford Festival, including my comprehensive 999 show plan to boost revenue: 9 shows a season, 9 performances a week, 9 dollars a ticket. Then there would be my call for a return to a more nationalist repertoire. Prime Minister Harper has already announced his opposition to hostile takeovers of Canadian companies. We can only be courting favour by eliminating the influence of foreign-born playwrights who no doubt have their own subversive agenda. From now on, Mr. Shakespeare and his friends can peddle their pro-Britannia jingoistic iambic pentameter somewhere else!
Quebec will threaten another referendum on sovereignty if I am named the Artistic Director.
Of course, the narrative of this competition would be scripted far in advance. Sometime around April, it will be revealed that I once remarked that not everything Margaret Atwood has done is worthy of national acclaim. Later, while being interviewed on The National, I will embarrass myself by not knowing the difference between stage left and a curtain call.
The final nail in the coffin will come when I will be accused of disinterest in the plays of Michel Tremblay, thereby alienating myself from Francophone theatre-goers. Quebec will threaten another referendum on sovereignty if I am named the Artistic Director. At this point, in the interest of Canadian unity, I will bow out of the competition. Mr. Cimolino will be elected and Canadian theatre will have had four much-needed months in the spotlight. Everyone’s a winner!
I trust you will find this plan both appealing and of great interest. I would suggest getting in touch with me as soon as possible so we can begin planting evidence of some life-long rivalry between me and Mr. Cimolino. Perhaps we can say he once ran over my dog? In any case, I remain open to suggestions.
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