Like theatre itself, we are about the past and the future
by Gaëtan L. Charlebois
(This article has been corrected)
On May 1, The Charlebois Post (known by our readers and writers as CharPo), hits its
We have surpassed 2300 readers (1800 who visit daily, 500 who come once a week). We are quietly approaching 50,000 pageviews. We have fans and we have detractors (which is as it should be). (BTW: If you want to follow the comings and goings of the site more closely, join us on Facebook, or on Twitter @gcharlebois.) When our writers are perceived to be "out of line" - well, good kee-rist! - they hear about it in pages and pages of comments which follow their articles. (Which is also as it should be.)
Companies like Tableau D'Hote, Processed Theatre, C'est La Vie get us.
But, most importantly, we have a platoon of regular contributors who represent the best writers in the city and, too, up-and-coming critics who are getting their sea-legs in a community which scrutinizes all commentary closely. (And, this week, I am especially delighted my niece Émilie - veteran of Gazette Fringe coverage - has joined the fold.) We also have some of the finest artists in the city - Steve Galluccio, Keir Cutler, Stacey Chrisodoulou, Martha Chaves, Andrew Cuk and Gabrielle Soskin to name a very few - sharing first-person stories about the creative process. We have specialists like Montreal Improv and Liesl Barrell offering series of helpful articles on the métier.
What I have noticed, though, is that our presence has a line of confusion. On one side of that line are young companies who use Facebook, Twitter and YouTube as integral parts of their theatrical dialogue. Companies like Tableau D'Hote, Processed Theatre, C'est La Vie get us. Some of the more established houses - most who are blessed with publicists who understand new media - also understand what we're doing. Centaur (which has a live Twitter feed on their own homepage) and rushes to respond to reviews (boy! do they respond!); Geordie which keeps us apprised of all their work - they get us too. And organizations like QDF and ELAN know what's what.
We don't really have time to court a company that is clearly courting a different audience with different theatrical tastes - Segal clearly believes - than most of our readers.
On the other side of the line is Segal. This is not criticism. They may not need us. They are a community theatre and their message gets to that community (via The Gazette, primarily) and they have a right to ignore us and CKUT's Upstage (our media partner). They have a right to offer star interviews to the daily and ignore all the small media. They have a right not to reTweet our reviews, even when they're raves. They have every right in the world to stay in that crepuscular world of new-media suspicion. It is tedious for a startup, sure! I admit that. But we'll live. We'll report what we learn about them (as we did - a week before the daily - about the Bryna Wasserman departure). We'll review their shows. But otherwise - in a booming and exciting theatrical community - we don't really have time to court a company that is clearly courting a different audience with different theatrical tastes - Segal clearly believes - than most of our readers.