The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0191  Thursday, 5 March 1998.

From:           Harry Hill <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 03 Mar 1998 10:32:06 +0000 (HELP)
Subject: 9.0187 Re: Racism, Sexism, etc. (Was a Lot of Other
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0187 Re: Racism, Sexism, etc. (Was a Lot of Other

THERE'S NOTHING EITHER GOOD OR ILL: Southern *Twelfth Night* in Canada

THEATRE CENSORS PRESS, blasted the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
last week in response to the Artistic Director of Montreal's Centaur
Theatre who banned a local newspaper from the lobby and its theatre
critic from future complimentary opening night tickets because of his
review of *Twelfth Night*.

The review, titled *Dixie Blues: What are the people at the Centaur
(not) thinking?*, said in part, " An hour in, I fled the theatre because
I thought I might scream...As soon as you enter you're confronted by a
Confederate flag (an emblem that in terms of the he visceral effect it
has on me is only slightly less than that of a swastika)...Consider
these moments: In one scene a woman of colour [Maria] is mauled by two
white men. In another a black man [Feste] is given a coin and asked to
dance and sing a song. He sings to the tune of "Dixie", the anthem of
the Southern warriors as they fought the North in the bloodiest war
America would ever endure...What I was seeing was artistic director
Gordon McCall's monumental trivialization of history.  Why did he do it?
Well, because, it seems, the Southern dialect is similar to the way
Shakespeare actually talked. Have you ever heard of a smaller raison
d'etre for an entire production's look and period?....I kept
choking....So what happened here? ...Is it that everyone in this
production forgot that to put a play into an historical period that
still resonates loudly pastes dark meanings on the material?" Gaetan

The director wrote in part, "[Gaetan Charlebois] so projected his views
of the U.S. Civil War, and his associations with the War, onto the
production that he completely abandoned any semblance of objectivity in
his opinions... His rant and purposeful attempt to harm the reputations
of those involved with the production was the furthest thing form
ethical journalism we have witnessed in years...Anyone is entitled to
disagree with what they see on stage but to misrepresent facts to the
reader and declare that there was something racist about this
presentation, which clearly portrays characters in historical context
and which refused to bow to the reverse racism that revises history for
current political agendas...is the height of megalomania.  ...No paper
or person assigned the task of reviewing art in this community has the
right to malign the intentions, goodwill or character of a company of
artists nor to misrepresent the work clearly before them." Gordon

I just thought I'd pass this on, as Shakespeare has passed on but these
actors, critic and director haven't yet.

        Harry Hill

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