by Patrick Goddard
Last week, I touched off a firestorm with the introductory post to this series. Although I knew it would be provocative, I naïvely didn't expect that my personal opinions would be taken as representative of the views of the Quebec Drama Federation as a whole. The question of how personal an opinion the President of the QDF could express, and in what forum, is a large one, and was addressed by the QDF's Board of Directors. It was pointed out that we did have a policy in place that journalists could not sit on the Board of the QDF, borne out of the concern that one member of the Board could unduly influence the livelihood of other QDF members. With that in mind, I can no longer be a contributor to what has very quickly become one of the most important and vital media outlets in Montreal English Theatre. Although I'm hardheaded enough to withstand controversy personally, I don't want to risk the reputation of the QDF, an organization that is growing more and more exciting and relevant.
The question remains for me: how do we as artists find a way to criticize the work? As Joel Fishbane points out in his open letter to me, we seem to not criticize each others' work for fear of not being supportive. Is there a way for us to speak our minds freely as artists without jeopardizing the survival of our fellow artists? Is there a way for us to create a structure for us to talk honestly about what we're doing on stage, how we're doing it, and why? Is this an opportunity for QDF to develop a forum where artists can exchange thoughts in an open and non-confrontational environment? Obviously, the CharPo is not the right forum for me while I'm President of the QDF. I do have a lot to say, but this is not the right place or the right way.