Thursday, December 1, 2011

Blog: Critical Condition, November 30, 2011

December 1, 2011
I Don't Need No Nobel
By Gaëtan L. Charlebois

Playwright Steve Galluccio, come awards season, loses his mind on Facebook and Twitter. He doesn't like them. And it's a sincere dislike - so sincere that he is not submitting his screenplay for Funkytown (to my mind a brilliant text) for the Writers Guild Award. Galluccio has done the awards thang - the Radio-Canada series Un gars, une fille won its writing team (including him) a pile of them.

So okay, Steev-o, I might agree with you when the same-old, same-old get all the prizes all the time.

Every year The Galluch mounts his social network war on The MECCAs (the Montreal English Critics Circle Awards). I expect it. I've done battle with him, we have fun with it, and he makes me think.

But he won't change my mind about certain awards. Not on the MECCAs, for one thing - which, as co-founder, interest me deeply. But there are some others I think are important and without naming them I'll share why.

I was 20 years old when I won The Clifford E. Lee National Playwrites Award and had it not been for that prize I would not have gotten the boost I needed to get a career going at the time. It opened doors in Canada, in the US, the UK, radio and even television.

So okay, Steev-o, I might agree with you when the same-old, same-old get all the prizes all the time. But those prizes that give a push to a new talent, draw attention to a surprising artist or expand the art out towards new audiences via the ideas of original creators are good things; so are the prizes which reward those who never get celeb-style notice but who should (designers, f'r'instance).

Meanwhile, I'll see YOU at the People's Choice!



  1. A comment has been removed as the moderators considered it to be spam.

  2. I sat on the Lee Award jury lo those many years ago (not the year that your play won, Gaetan). One of the plays submitted looked like it had been typed by a crazed stenographer -- some lines proceeded up the page at a 10 degree angle -- and a GREAT DEAL OF IT WAS IN ALL CAPS. Perhaps that was why I had a hard time convincing my colleagues on the jury of its merit, and getting them to at least put it on the list of finalists. Finally, we did. That play was "The Crackwalker" by a recent graduate of the National Theatre School and largely-unknown playwright named Judith Thompson.

    I don't know if Ms. Thompson regarded that as a "boost" -- it would probably have been much better, and certainly more to our credit as a jury, if "The Crackwalker" had actually won the award -- but it did serve to draw some attention to her and her play, I think. So, while I largely share Steven Gallucio's scepticism about prizes, I guess you're right that, every once in a while, they serve a purpose.


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