What this blog is about

It's an art blog.
Mostly about theatre... but also a healthy dose of pop culture, politics and shameless self-promotion.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

File this under "Oh, come on"

R&J protested in Tennessee

No, I'm not talking about Colarco's adapatation with prep school boys playacting as the two lovers.

Not even talking about the Zeffirelli film with a nude scene with a 15-year-old actress.

No, rather The Star is reporting that a Toronto school-touring production of Romeo and Juliet was almost cancelled due to a group of parents who disapproved of the show's sexuality.

From the article:
... a woman who identified herself as Val, a home-school teacher from Hermitage, "struggled being here with my son. The sexuality was too much. Our children need to be more pure."
And, I guess, "several other teachers echoed her opinion."

Now, I haven't seen the production but I'm reasonably assured that all the actors keep their clothes on.

So, does that mean these folks are objecting to the script? That was written in 1595 (give or take)?

If so, kudos to the ensemble for an obviously vivid and faithful interpretation of the Bard's text.

To those teachers and parents of those oh-so-pure children... You do know that this is what your kids are listening to, don't you:


Thursday, January 14, 2010

German Musical Obama... what???

Hope! - A new musical about Barack Obama's ascent to the US Presidency opens in Frankfurt

I still don't know what to make of this one.

Yes, Barack Obama has world wide appeal. Yes, he even has a special connection to Germany. But a German musical about him?

I just don't know.

From the description:
"I had the initial idea right at the start of Obama's electoral campaign," American writer and composer Randall Hutchins told SPIEGEL ONLINE. "I found the atmosphere exciting and that was my inspiration. People hoped change would result in a better life. It was a beautiful, very social time."
Okay. Sure. That sounds like something to write about. And, checking out the photo gallery... yeah. Maybe that could be kind of fun.

But, wait. Just wait. What am I going to be looking at again?
Wearing a knitted cardigan and crooning into his microphone, Barack Obama paces around the stage, wooing Michelle with a love song. In another number, now clad in a suit, Jimmie Wilson who plays Obama, struts up and down, clasping his mike and leading a euphoric gospel chorus of "Yes We Can."
Ew - Eww - Eeeewwwww...

I don't like it.

Do I have a problem with musicals? Not with this one. Nor this one.

I just don't like wasting my time. This musical sounds like a waste of my time.

Maybe it bugs me that this is a German creation. I just got back from Berlin last week. (PS -- Berlin is awesome!) I stopped by the Deutsches Theater to check out what was going on. I picked up a program. On the front cover was a promo shot from its production of Othello.

Check it out:
Yeah. That's a German interpretation of Othello.

I don't know if the show was any good (I missed it), or if the photo is just a publicity shot designed to create a stir (and probably offence at the same time).

But it's exciting. It's risky.

It's dangerous.

That's what I like about theatre. Musical or not.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Congrats Michael Healey


The Drawer Boy 4th most produced play in the US during the Naughties

Top ten lists are always in vogue around the new year, especially at the dawn of a new decade (or century, or millennium, or what have you).

You can usually find Top 10 productions of the year for theatre as well but, due to the nature of the beast, they're so localized, that these lists don't "mean" as much as some others.

However, over at Nestruck on Theatre there is a report that Michael Healey's The Drawer Boy was the fourth most produced play in the U.S. during the last decade.

Local boy does good!

Of course, I can't help but grit my teeth a little to report that somehow this list should mean more to me than others.

It is an unfortunate symptom of Canada's national character that we judge our successes based on how well we do south of the border.

That being said, Mr. Healey's work is among a list of some really seminal pieces, and the fact that his play has been produced 36 times in a country not of his origin is, to put it mildly, impressive.

Congratulations are indeed in order. Well done!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Accomplish much?

Those who doubt seem really, really angry about it

As of this writing, the Facebook group Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament has grown to 80,235 people.

That's nearly equivalent to the population of Sarnia, Ontario, or Nanaimo, British Columbia (according to tageo.com).

Media responses to the group however, have been mostly negative. They range from dismissive, to cynical to actually-kind-of-insulting.

If you are easily discouraged, I recommend not clicking the above links.

But I have to wonder: if this FB group is just BS, then why do you continue to write about it? If you take a look at the National Post's Full Comment section online, I see 8 different opinion pieces about the group published since January 5th (not including Chris Selley's Full Pundit).

I'm a member of the group, and in the same time frame, I've only written about it once.

Like the Bard said: "Methinks thou doth protest too much..."

Perhaps, all we've accomplished is eighty thousand people clicking a button. But for me, that's a damn good start.

So... what shall we accomplish next?


And, for those of you who are gluttons for punishment, here are the aforementioned NP articles:

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Have you joined?

A Grassroots movement against a cynical government

What a difference 5 days make!

My last post, on the last day of 2009, was quite pessimistic, I'll admit. However, despite the government's move to hide its 2nd annual prorogation of Parliament behind the blur of thousands of New Year's Eve parties and the announcement of the Canadian Men's Olympic Hockey Team roster, something quite different happened.

People got pissed off.

A number of Facebook groups that opposed the government's move were set up. One of them caught fire: Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament. As of this writing, its membership has grown to about the size of the population of Lloydminster, Alberta.

Yesterday morning, the group was noted in the Globe and Mail's Ottawa Notebook political blog. Later that day, the group's founder Christopher White, was interviewed on CBC News. This morning, it was featured in an article for the Toronto Star.

Polls still show that more Canadians are indifferent to prorogation than are against it. But not as many as you might think: while 45% are indifferent, 35% are unhappy about it, and only 15% are for it. The causality of the majority's indifference could be based in any number of reasons, but people's opinions can change on a dime. Especially if they feel that they are being taken advantage of.

Well, we are. Democracy may be our right, but it is a fragile one and it needs to be protected. It needs to engaged by its citizens.

It needs us to stand up and be counted.

Join us.