Better Mad Than Sad
Sometimes you just need to go on a tear
By Gaëtan L. Charlebois
My doctor told me once, "It's better to get mad than sad." He saw that I was going into a darkness when, instead, I should be telling people what was on my mind, or breaking things, or just screaming from time to time. I was amazed by the advice because - since forever - I have not been guarded about my feelings. My writing used to suffer, from time to time, from stating exactly what was on my mind - it was because I believe one thing profoundly: people are too goddam polite.
...when they get outside that theatre door, all hell breaks loose.
My microcosm, if you will, was the theatre. In the theatre people applauded. In the lobby the they chatted amiably. But when they get outside that theatre door, all hell breaks loose. Stand just outside the door of any theatre, when the crowd knows it beyond the hearing of anyone who might be involved in the show, and listen. Oh! my God!
Now why, I asked myself, did they not show this same emotion - which is a valid one - in some form IN the theatre? I'm not saying unleash rage during play or curtain-calls, but simply filing out in dissatisfied silence. Or, as I felt like doing at the theatre last week, leaning toward the guy who AUTOMATICALLY profers a show a standing ovation and saying, "Have you EVER been to the theatre?"
That's one thing pissing me off this week.
Or how about, as they did in London, Occupy The Churches - the greatest, emptiest theatres in every city.
Another thing is Occupy Wall Street. I think this is a movement whose time has come. I don't care that encampments are being dismantled all around the world (sometimes with outrageous violence); OWS (as its Twitter hashtag brands it) is here to stay. I am pissed by theatre people who, as usual, are not supporting a movement that seems aimed exactly at them; is not joining in with gusto! How? Occupy Quartier des Spectacles (lots of tent space there)? Occupy Four Seasons Centre (nice greenspace across from there too)? Or how about, as they did in London, Occupy The Churches - the greatest, emptiest theatres in every city.
Look at the plays of David Fennario if you want to see how political theatre should be done.
And another thing...
Political theatre. It doesn't work when it's pure propoganda (f'r'instance the White-Haired Girl, and The Red Detachment of Women, classics of the Post-Revolutionary Chinese Opera, are laughably unwatchable). Give me people, dammit, not sloganeers. Look at the plays of David Fennario if you want to see how political theatre should be done.
One more thing...
Why aren't arts organizations actively looking for funding other than governments? Yes, we can rid ourselves of the Conservatives in a few years, but the damage they can do in their short reign will last a decade. Arts organizations should be hunting philanthropists, CEOs and advertisers like turkeys at Thanksgiving - or like their lives depended on it. Because they do.
Okay, I feel better.