April 12th 2015
This week the happy news is that, despite the fact that neither of my children has won the Nobel Peace Prize, I am within two songs of completing Frenchys. It’s not quite a ‘ta-da’ moment but it is solid progress. I took the morning off Wednesday and attended the launch of an interesting project funded by the Ministry of Education through the brilliant people at The Elementary Teachers Federation. (If you think unions are passé, these guys prove the lie). Every school in the province will receive a series of nine stories (penned by moi même) which give a child’s perspective of being left out of organized sport. Each story ends without a ready solution allowing the kids to come up with their own. Then, through words and images, they create a ‘brick’ (a 10” X 6” square of cardboard). Thousands of these bricks will wing their way to Toronto where they will be assembled into an art piece and then displayed at Pride House during the Pan-Am Games. Low cost. Highly creative. And maybe, just maybe, we can create a sporting culture where all are welcome regardless of gifts – personal or economic.
I attended three great theatrical events this week. Hannah Moscovitch’s new piece, Infinity at the Tarragon was last Sunday. I admire Ms. M’s plays and this play was very well written, performed and directed. I admired it enormously. But I had one quib. There was a character in this story who was sad and wasn’t doing much about it. One of the great appeals of drama is watching people who are in deep water. Deep, boiling, poisonous, shark infested waters is best, if it is believable, because a character who can survive that would be really worth watching. But essentially any deep water will do. The rule is this – If the character is trying to get out of the water, it’s interesting. If the character simply treads water and whines, regardless of eloquence, they are not. Hamlet gives his “To be or not to be speech” in an attempt to get out of his predicament not to say “woe is me”. My aversion to whining is not just because my mother was so firmly against the practice but because if a character is sad, discontented etc. and doesn’t do anything about it, the audience will, internally, start making suggestions. “For god sake, why don’t you just leave him!” or “Why can’t she just accept him as he is? After all, he’s clearly a genius” or “Oh just get on with your life and leave him in your wake”.
I was equally admiring of Paul Dunn’s new play Outside produced by Roseneath Theatre. This depiction of two straight kids trying to start a gay-straight alliance is going to make a huge impact (and rattle some cages that need rattling). Bravo.
And finally if you have never seen a performance by Toronto’s L’Arche Community (founded by Jean Vanier) you are missing something utterly unique. I saw their latest collective creation and the blending of core members, who have mental or physical handicaps, with able-bodied actors is instantly heart opening.
Have a great week,