On Prizes and PR
Yeah, a rant
by Gaëtan L. Charlebois
It seems to be awards season again.
In a few days TAPA (Toronto Alliance of Performing Artists) will announce the nominees for its Dora Awards - one of the most coveted and recognized theatre prizes in the country. TAPA - an organization that truly seems to function - makes a shitload of noise, does everything up nice and I do believe everyone is pleased as punch to get one.
Meanwhile, five Toronto critics (all print) announced the winners of their prizes this week. The Toronto club seems fairly small and more than slightly elitist and denies the growing power of sites like this one but the fact is, those five men saw most of the winning plays and no one can begrudge the sheer, mad amount they work. (Sorry...couldn't resist italicizing "men".)
On our own site Richard Burnett (The Abominable Showman) tore our own critics' prize, The Montreal English Critics Awards (MECCA), a new asshole. (Full disclosure: I am a founder of the MECCAs and vote in them.) Richard had a few things a tiny bit askew (as does the community which berates the awards every year). One award he mentions is not an award for best text, it is for best new text (and the late Ted Allen doesn't qualify - first, for being late and all...). Lion King was not nominated because no one among the MECCA-ese (12 souls this time out) saw it or if they did, did not care to nominate it. No award was given in Best Visiting or Best Sound, for that matter, not because no one was nominated but because everyone was...once. Yup - over a dozen noms in each category.
If you are involved in giving out awards, you have a nemesis: writer Steve Galluccio.
Nuf sed... On the MECCAs anyway.
If you are involved in giving out awards, you have a nemesis: writer Steve Galluccio. He hates the whole concept and come any awards ceremony he goes on Twitter and Facebook and loses his shit. He has his reasons. I'll give you one more he doesn't mention but should: if anyone deserved an award for best screenplay this year it was Mr. Galluccio (not that he would have accepted it). But the case of Galluccio proved he may be a little right about the dumbness of some prizes: his brilliant (and - horrors! - bilingual) Funkytown got him noms for best song (the lyrics, don't you know). Huzzah! Jutra and Etrog or Gemini or whatever the fuck they're called. [Google: Genies]
Galluccio is also more than a little right about Les Gémeaux for French-language television. I don't watch them anymore since I don't have to (my previous gig as a TV critic died on the Asper altar). The nadir for this award was when Pierre Curzi - now at the trough of politics - accepted an honorary award with a 20 minute speech (I kid you not) that was so random, stupid and arch-political that I have disliked him ever since. Like all small-town awards when the state television bows to the powers, there was no music to cut him off. In Quebec there never is music cutting off speeches, BTW - which accounts for 3-4 hour shows. (And, BTW, the MECCAs lasted an hour WITH intermission and entertainment.)
PR people are responsible for putting the company's best foot forward before and after a production that a critic may love or despise.
All this to say that The Charlebois Post has created a new award - a real one - that is aimed squarely at the people who make the lives of our editors and writers wonderful (or miserable as the case may be): theatre PR people. PR people are responsible for putting the company's best foot forward before and after a production that a critic may love or despise.
The reason we have created the award - this week in particular - is twofold: we have been delighted by publicists this week and, by one particularly stupid cow, treated wretchedly. The latter we have confined to a shitlist. The former we want to celebrate with an annual national prize (to be announced in the December 31 edition) for best PR (large, medium and small house and indie), best photo, best video and lifetime achievement.
The prize name? Well we have three dozen contributors and thousands of readers to help with that (comment below). The winners will be easy to choose - CharPo Editor-in-Chief Estelle Rosen (especially) and our editors across the country deal with them all the time.
So, sorry Steve G., another "useless" dust collector is born because, let's face it, theatre folk like to party.