Saturday, February 4, 2012

Open Letter From Brad Fraser to Richard Rose regarding the Michael Healey controversy

This is not a minor incident

(This article has been corrected) This week The Tarragon Theatre decided to cancel an upcoming production not to program a production of Michael Healey's play, Proud. (Read details in this Globe and Mail story.) In response, Brad Fraser published a letter to Tarragon artistic director Richard Rose on Facebook which Mr. Fraser has graciously allowed The Charlebois Post to publish.

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Dear Richard,

I can't tell you how disappointed I am to hear that you've cancelled Michael's play for fear of upsetting our PM in some way.

That such depictions of public figures are allowed by law in many forms suggests it is fear, not any actual threat, that has prompted your action. This is very disappointing, not only to me, but to a great many people who work in the theatre specifically to address social injustice and comment on the sometimes corrupt nature of our government and society. That you would interfere with this fair commentary is not only disappointing, but also makes it very clear that you support the many creepy things our government is doing right now.

This is not a minor incident. The Tarragon is an established and respected enough institution that this action will give other, similarly frightened Artistic Directors an excuse to behave in the same fashion. It also tells the government they don't have to censor the theatre when those who run it are quite willing to do so themselves.

Until you have offered a reasonable explanation for your actions or rescheduled the play I have no choice but to withhold any future support for the Tarragon, both as an artist and a ticket buyer.

This action, sadly, will be what you are most remembered for unless you find a way to rectify it.

Most sincerely,
Brad Fraser

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The Charlebois Post has invited Mr. Rose to respond.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Mr. Fraser,

    It is to my understanding (having read three articles about this situation) that Tarragon had chose to NOT produce Mr. Healey's play. Your choice of words infers that Tarragon a had agreed to produce the play and then reneged on this agreement. This is not the case from what I've read. "Proud" is in it's first draft and Tarragon let Mr. Healey know that it would not be programmed into the next season. To any ill-informed reader, your letter is misleading and false. In fact, one could accuse you of libel.

    See how easy that is?

    If Tarragon chose not to produce a play about...say, a teacher in a local school (never named, but would be obvious to any students who saw the show) because of potential libel suits, would you still write your letter, or do you only choose to speak up publicly on this matter because of your own political opinions? Regardless, there are many plays that do not get chosen to be programmed into a season for one reason or another, but no one speaks up on behalf of those plays. Where are your angry letters there?

    I don't know Mr. Healey and I have seen productions of his plays, but my impression from this situation, is that he is a brat with a large sense of entitlement. But, that's just my opinion.


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