Tuesday, December 3, 2013

After Dark, December 3, 2013

(Un)Happy Anniversary
The disappointment is not only with the usual suspect
by Gaëtan L. Charlebois

It was precisely a year ago that The Charlebois Post - Canada published an editorial that so got under the skin of a major producer, Mirvish in Toronto, that we lost ticket priviliges and access to the company's artists.

I've said pretty much all I'm going to say about Mirvish. My peevishness has ebbed to be replaced with a feeling that the world doesn't need to know CharPo's opinions on Mirvish productions. However, there is some peevishness that remains about other aspects of this weird situation and those have actually bothered me more, from the start, than one wiggy Mirvish PR flack with a Napoleon complex.

From Toronto's dailies, to radio, TV and across to the many theatre blogs of the city, we have found absolutely no support from fellow writers for the position we took: defending a writer's right to say what he feels; standing up to a big company - yes - but also one that is trying to bully us into silence or apology; or trying to create a place where it's neither only about reviews nor about fluff or pure promotion of product, but about a theatrical conversation that includes everyone in theatre, including audience. Bottom line, our confrères in theatre journalism decided it was perfectly okay for a company to punish us without saying or writing word one about it. That's sad enough for me.

But add into the mix that we are also refused privileges for Off-Mirvish, the monolith's season of alternative theatre (made up of companies who deserve the space and recognition). What this means is that the companies which are virtually the foundation of our mandate and coverage (thus our dis-concern about Mirvish productions) are being co-opted, like it or not, into blackballing us as well.

But here we are, hitting our third anniversary (two more years than this stupid problem!), facing some profoundly needed time off over the holidays, and our readership numbers are better than ever. Moreover, we have friends (some even in higher places than that company) and supporters and we continue to find fun and joy in the work we do. 

I truly love reading the articles and reviews I get daily and I try not to take all this other crap like I am some princess dealing with the pea under the 20 mattresses. 

But it niggles. 

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