by Jim Murchison
The GCTC has decided to include The Public Servant in its season next year. I saw the play at undercurrents and it was my opinion that it would be one of if not the hit of the festival. I have a bit of a bias as I have worked in the Public Service and felt it would so easily resonate with an Ottawa audience. I guess Eric Coates felt the same way.
It is wonderful when an independent company gets the opportunity to reach a wider audience and arrives, as all overnight successes do after considerable toil, sweat, penny pinching and hand wringing angst.
The thing about wanting to do something outside the mainstream or just do something with little money is that you still have to figure out how to sell it and how to appeal to an audience unless you have deep pockets and don’t care about having an audience. It is a challenge to survive and at the same time move forward. I think most artists are concerned if no one comes to see their work. No matter how much one may try to convince themselves that critics or the public don’t matter they do. There is no other reason one would choose to be a performer. We can all act and sing extremely well in the shower. I wouldn’t recommend dancing in the shower or performing mime anywhere.
So hats off to Eric Coates and to Columbus Theatre, the creative force of The Public Servant. Columbus Theatre describes their company as theatre below the mainstream but I am sure they are thrilled to be performing at the GCTC and they have not sold out one bit although given that this is a city of public servants they may well have sold out performances.