On Family vs Public

It has been a strange 48 hours.  On Wednesday night the Wrecking Ball played to a sold out house as the final of eleven encounters at the Edward Bond Festival.#wb13 focused on Bond and his work.

“For the past decade Edward Bond has focused heavily on what he calls The Third Crisis: the intensive injustice of authority in our present capitalist society. He had been investigating how language, ideas and humanity are being co-opted for rational capitalist means. Bond writes of people being “asleep” to injustices committed around them by being lulled into complacency through both apathy and the media.”
wrecking ball website

And at around the same time, Artistic Director Ken Gass was being shown the door at Factory Theatre – a door that is quite frankly there because of him.

If this were a movie, there would absolutely have been cut shots alternating between the Wrecking Ball and I assume, the Factory Theatre. This is not a movie.

Ken has spoken to the media with his side. Factory has issued a press release with theirs. It does not contain a satisfactory answer to the barbaric YAWP of WTF? that is resounding through the theatre community tonight.

I had a chat with someone about “the public’s right to know” today, an idea which  of course has increased thousandfolds in the last decade. And it’s increased at lightning speed with the advent of social media.  (Quick link –Using Social Media In A Crisis). And that’s why a press releases sometimes says nothing. I know – I’ve been the person to have to write that type of release. Not enviable work, and you do the best you can under the circumstances.  Unfortunately, saying nothing doesn’t help a situation like this for those who want to know why something so seemingly impossible has happened.

Maybe the “public” doesn’t need to know. Fair enough. But here’s my issue with that. Whether we are referred to as an “industry” a “community” a whatever – we are essentially a family. And I don’t mean cheesy Partridge style family where all is ever sunny. We see each others work and work with each other in hours and conditions most would find insane. We fight, and argue, and laugh, and drink too much and go to team softball games. We share remnant ad space and discounts, and talk to each other and learn. We know each other, we know who we should know, and let me introduce you to someone you should know.

That’s not the “public”. That’s family. And I do think a family maybe has a little more “right to know” that some random public guy who does not know Ken’s contribution to Toronto theatre, to its artists, its playwrights.  I don’t think it’s too much to ask.

My two cents. I am sure details will continue to come out – I can’t imagine they will make this look any better, or they would have come out immediately. But I do wonder what is going on in Toronto theatre these days.

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