Friday, May 10, 2013

A Fly On The Wall, May 10, 2013

The Future
by Jim Murchison 

One of the things that happens after the bittersweet moment of another project being done is a time for reflection. All the goodbyes are said and the hugs, handshakes and kisses and then you find yourself back in the real world. So it is with me.

Unlike when I was younger and all I was thinking about was where and when the next project would come from, I find myself more and more thinking about the state of theatre in general. The state of theatre in Ottawa is quite healthy. It is very encouraging that so many independent producers exist in a market of a million people where two major companies; NAC and GCTC also run full seasons. These independent companies don’t thrive by any means but they do exist and that is important.

When my children have children there may be no print journalism at all.

What is less clear is the state of print journalism. Back in the 80's, newspapers would come out to see theatre in the schools and some community theatre as well as indie producers. As subscription readership declines and more people read tabloid soundbite news in free publications like The Metro, more and more people rely on online reviewing such as The Charlebois Post provides. The Ottawa Citizen will review major touring productions and concerts but it is less likely to send out and pay critics for locally produced productions. 

When my children have children there may be no print journalism at all. I don’t know that of course as I have no crystal ball, but there are many things that at one time were unfathomable that have come to pass. Technology is a wonderful thing that has provided all sorts of convenience and a plethora of information. What it also can do is spread misinformation at a faster rate than was ever possible. 
My belief is that as technology continues to evolve, online journals like The Charlebois Post will become more vital and more respected. I am not intimating that it is disrespected now, merely that online information becomes more prevalent and more sought after daily. Some of the blogs are invited to shows because they are almost always going to say something good and some because their writing is very good - whether they like a show or not it will be a thoughtful and informed review. 

What is going to be interesting is how the rest of the community links into this. Will there be a symbiotic entertainment community of restaurants, film, theatre and dance? There is already to some extent, but the full potential is not realized. It will be interesting to see as the infant becomes a toddler and then an adolescent how much more our virtual world impacts our artistic community.

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