The Playgoer: CanStage

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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

CanStage

Toronto Star's lead critic Richard Ouzounian, in his year-end wrap up of Ontario theatre, takes to task the Can Stage company and its Artistic Director Martin Bragg. Turns out their weaseling out of "Rachel Corrie" is just part of a bigger pattern artistic timidity and lameness.

Ouzounian contrasts the "respectable" CanStage with the more adventurous upstart Soulpepper (who I've written about before, here).

It's not coincidental that three of the shows on this year's Top 10 list came from Soulpepper. And even when this company fails, they do so with ambition and distinction. Schultz and his company are building for the future and their Conservatory, established this year as well, only goes to prove that.

In the other corner, however, sporting a black hat and twirling a metaphorical moustache, is CanStage's Martin Bragg.

In 2006, his company produced 10 shows and not one of them could be called a true success, either critically or popularly.

CanStage's productions are usually presented with enough surface polish so that they avoid being really awful (although Hair was an exception), but what they've been lacking recently is any sense of the reason why they're being done. If ever an organization needed a mission statement, it's this one.

Bragg's recent decision to cancel My Name Is Rachel Corrie, supposedly in the face of board pressure, is just one more indication of the muddied artistic thinking that is plaguing this theatre and needs to be remedied as soon as possible.


Sound familiar?

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

i think this is outragious. martin bragg made the right decision. it discusts me that people think such as yourself think they have a right to criticize a deicciosn when they have half the facts. you have no idea what kind of pressure people can be under especially in the theater buisness.

get a clue and some courage.

Jason Grote said...

This from an anonymous commenter that declines to give the "other half" - or ANY - of the story. Garret has clues and courage to spare, anonymous. Do you?

An avid theater goer and supporter of Canstage said...

Bragg is under an extreme amount of pressure from people from the board of directors, and one Miss. Appel. it was not one person who maks the decision to put on a show or not, and Bragg is not the only one to be held responsible. and first and foremost " I am Rachel Corrie" was not a dond deal it was amongst many other POSSIBLE productions and happened to not make the cut. why it didnt make the cut, is because there was so much pressure from people that they would cut of support for the company if they showed Rachel Corrie. Cowardly? well what happens if funding is cut off , then there no theater to show anything.

did Bragg make the right decision?

lets see. show Rachel Corrie and probably get blasted for it, then loose all funds and subscribeers.

or ditch Rachel ocrrie and conintue to regain the theaters sucess with support from donours and subscribers.

you cant always take the risky road.

An avid theater goer and supporter of Canstage said...

Bragg is under an extreme amount of pressure from people from the board of directors, and one Miss. Appel. it was not one person who maks the decision to put on a show or not, and Bragg is not the only one to be held responsible. and first and foremost " I am Rachel Corrie" was not a dond deal it was amongst many other POSSIBLE productions and happened to not make the cut. why it didnt make the cut, is because there was so much pressure from people that they would cut of support for the company if they showed Rachel Corrie. Cowardly? well what happens if funding is cut off , then there no theater to show anything.

did Bragg make the right decision?

lets see. show Rachel Corrie and probably get blasted for it, then loose all funds and subscribeers.

or ditch Rachel ocrrie and conintue to regain the theaters sucess with support from donours and subscribers.

you cant always take the risky road.