E Q 40th AnniversAry of the nAC CAn we speAk freely in CAnAdA?

EQ
E Q U I T Y
Q U A R T E R L Y
s p ri n g
2 0 1 0
40th Anniversary of the NAC
The harsh reality of censorship
Can we speak freely in Canada?
By continuing to create performances that help people see the world
from different points of view — we can ensure artistic expression
thrives here in Canada, and around the world.
EQ
E Q U I T Y
Q U A R T E R L Y S p ri n g
6NAC’s resident
acting company
10Artistic freedom
in Canada
15The worldwide
struggle facing
artists EQ
Spring 2010 – Volume 4, Number 1
Executive editor Lynn McQueen
editor Barb Farwell
DEsign & Layout Chris Simeon,
September Creative
Equity members are encouraged to submit ideas for articles, memorial notices and letters to the editor
via email ([email protected]) or on disk with accompanying hard copy. The copy deadline for submissions is
Monday, May 3, 2010. EQ reserves the right to edit for length, style and content.
EQ Equity Quarterly (ISSN 1913-2190) is a forum to communicate to Equity members the activities of
the Association and issues of concern to the Association. With the exception of the editorial staff, the
views expressed in solicited or unsolicited articles are not necessarily the views of the Association.
Canadian Actors’ Equity Association (Equity) is the voice of professional artists working in live
performance in English Canada. We represent more than 5,500 performers, directors, choreographers,
fight directors and stage managers working in theatre, opera and dance, and support their creative efforts
by seeking to improve their working conditions and opportunities by negotiating and administering
collective agreements, providing benefit plans, information and support and acting as an advocate.
v o lu m e
4
2 0 1 0
n u m b er
1
2 President’s message
3NOTES FROM ARDEN RYSHPAN
4 letterS to the editor
5 eq moves
8EQ&A
9 Backstage
18 fondly remembered
20 eq classifieds
21 eq flashback
Coming issue: Summer 2010
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EQ is published four times a year by Canadian Actors’ Equity Association.
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Cover: Thanks to Equity member Tara Nicodemo for letting us censor her with mannequin arms representing the faceless opponents of freedom of expression
President’s
message
One of the great challenges in writing this column is the early editorial deadline relative to
the date it finally lands in your mailbox or inbox. As I write this, the Olympics are still in full swing.
The urge to say “Hey! Guess what we just did!” is always tempered by the knowledge that, by
the time you read it, it won’t be “just” anything anymore.
Enter the blog!
In the last issue, I mentioned that it would be up and running soon, and now it is.
I used the first few postings for a basic introduction to Council. Now that my inner
teacher is (mostly) satisfied, I have moved on to more timely announcements.
You can find the blog at councilconnection.blogspot.com. New posts come out
roughly every other week at the moment. Swing by on a regular basis, but if you like,
we’ll come to you. You can sign up for an RSS feed to receive a short preview of each
new post. If the topic is of interest to you, you can jump right from the preview to the
full post. The link to enable subscription appears at the bottom of the blog page.
And you can write back, which is the other bonus of the blog format. Don’t
be shy.
If you are of a generation (not so far removed from mine) for whom the word
“blog” suggests an affliction you really ought to call the plumber about, never fear: Important topics will
continue to appear in this column and in the Council Link – just not quite so fresh off the presses.
Council held its first all-business meeting of the term in late February, where the agenda included
reintroduction to most of the major topics carried over from last term, and some new ones as well.
Current major issues include a review of the process for joining Equity, insurance benefits, and independent or member-initiated production. Add to those a constant stream of the many mid-size and
smaller topics that help keep the organization running smoothly, and it is always a very full agenda.
Fourteen hours of meetings, more than 20 significant topics, plus administrative items – boy do we
know how to have a good time!
Before I sign off, let me make the annual pitch for honours nominations. Every year, Equity
Council presents Life Membership, Honorary Membership and the Larry McCance Award to
candidates proposed by you, the members. It is our opportunity to recognize excellence within,
and outside, the membership. The last honours presentation was held at the Gladstone Hotel in
Toronto and it was a fantastic evening. This year the presentation will be held in Calgary in late
October, and it promises to be just as good. (Hint to Calgary…)
Somewhere, among the membership and the greater live performance community, are this year’s
honourees, but we don’t know who they are yet. You may. Take five minutes, consider who among
your colleagues deserve special recognition and let us know. There are many mini-communities
in this business, and we will never know of some of the most deserving candidates unless you tell
us. Application details are on the home page of EQUITYONLINE (www.caea.com) or available by
calling either of Equity’s offices.
Here’s hoping spring has sprung wherever you are.
Allan Teichman
President
2 E quity Q uarterly
s p ri n g 2 0 1 0
Notes from
Arden Ryshpan
It is astonishing the things that some people find objectionable. I remember many years
ago when the police attempted to close down an exhibition by an extraordinary Canadian sculptor
named Mark Prent on the grounds of obscenity. No, his work was not about sex, but did contain
human body parts displayed in an admittedly disturbing way. They weren’t real body parts, just for
the record, only exceptionally life-like ones. Twenty odd years later, someone
paid British artist Damien Hirst $12 million for real animal parts displayed in much
the same way as Prent’s not real human parts. My, how our perception of what
is appropriate (and what has value) has changed.
Theatre, partially because of its immediacy, has always been a platform for the
exploration of difficult subjects and therefore (also because of its immediacy),
has been subject to its fair share of controversy and censorship. However, given
what is now available over the Internet (porn to propaganda) one has to wonder
if there are still new boundaries to challenge, at least in the Western world. Are
there actually any taboos anymore; could there be anything so far out on the
edge that it would bring down the wrath of Big Brother, or big government?
Well, apparently, there is.
We were all surprised to read about the clause in the contract that VANOC insisted that artists participating in the recent Cultural Olympiad sign. The clause basically said that the participants couldn’t
say anything bad about either the Olympics or any of the many corporate sponsors. While many
(most? all?) of the works didn’t even contemplate taking on that subject matter (as most of the work
wasn’t even about the darned things in the first place), a number of people refused to sign. They stated
that it had an inappropriately chilling effect on free expression and therefore declined the opportunity
to participate. Furthermore, it was quickly revealed that no such statement was required for the participants of at least the previous two Winter Games’ Cultural Olympiads. (I should add a note here – the
copyright restrictions on the use of a long list of words during the Olympics were so specific that I am
not entirely sure as I write this that I am not in violation by stringing that particular sequence of words
together. I guess we’ll have to wait and see if the powers that be bother to come after me.)
We had talked about doing an issue of EQ on censorship and this controversy during the Olympics
was all the encouragement we needed. We waited until the games were over as we would not have
wanted to deliberately or inadvertently put any of our members or their work at risk as a result of
anything published in this magazine. But what happened in Vancouver is ample proof, if any was
needed, that the right to free artistic expression is never guaranteed.
Artists choose their subjects for all sorts of reasons, including the desire to see issues and concerns
that normally reside in the dimly lit recesses of our minds or of our society get dragged into the light and
thrashed out. Theatre, with its visceral power, its in-your-face presentation, its “you can’t turn me off and
leave the room” urgency, is the ideal place for this stuff – this dark stuff – to find its voice and speak to
whoever will listen. We must all be vigilant in order to ensure that those voices don’t get silenced.
Arden R. Ryshpan
Executive Director
s p ri n g 2 0 1 0 E quity Q uarterly 3
Letters to the editor
To Douglas Campbell’s friends
I have been so grateful for the letters, emails,
phone calls, and visits from Douglas Campbell’s beloved theatre friends. I am hoping
to respond to all eventually, but it may take
me some time. Meanwhile, know that you
have all helped to heal my sad heart – and
those of all Douglas’s family. And very many
thanks to all who came to the memorial celebrations and to those who so movingly
took part. Also to the Segal Centre (Montreal), Christ Church (Vancouver) and the
Stratford Festival for their extraordinary
generosity in welcoming our celebrations
– Douglas would have loved them, as he
loved all of you.
Moira Wylie, Wife of Douglas Campbell
B.C. arts funding crisis
Thank you very much for the article
regarding the drastic cuts planned for arts
and culture funding in B.C.
As you know, the recent budget tabled by
the current B.C. Government didn’t include
the 90% cuts that we feared, nor was funding restored to the 2008/2009 levels as we
had hoped. The numbers fell somewhere
in between, but overall it appears that the
funding has been reduced by what the
Alliance for Arts and Culture sees as about
32%, with the funding to B.C. Arts Council being cut by 53% from the 2008/2009
levels and the B.C. Gaming Commission
contribution to arts cut by 58%. Already
strapped organizations are wondering how,
and indeed, if, they will manage to survive.
We have already seen one local dance company relocate to Europe for at least the next
two years, one theatre company announce
that future programming is “on-hold,” and
TYA companies cancelling school tours.
If anything positive has come about as a
result of the blows being delivered by these
cuts, it is the way in which it has brought
organizations together that have historically been pitted against one another when
4 E quity Q uarterly
it comes to funding. We have seen sporting
organizations standing side-by-side with theatre companies and art galleries to protest the
changes being made to the money distributed through the B.C. Gaming Commission.
And while our current government seems
to be turning a blind eye toward the arts
when it comes to funding, we are seeing
support from elsewhere. The Metro Vancouver Board wrote not one, but two letters demanding that the government listen
to its own Standing Committee on Finance’s
unanimous recommendation to restore the
funding to the 2008/2009 levels. In the
December issue of Business in Vancouver,
the paper’s owner commented on the bad
business of the planned cuts, calling the arts
“the infrastructure to a creative economy”
but also recognizing that the economic case
for what artists do is “a sideshow to the real
contribution arts make.” The Vancouver
Foundation recently announced plans to
double its funding to the arts sector this year;
and we continue to have strong supporters,
like MLA Spencer Herbert, who will ensure
that we will not go down quietly! Thank you
again for the coverage given to the “fight”
out here…the struggle continues.
Kerry Davidson,
Proud Equity member in B.C.
The names of the artists were inadvertently
reversed in this photograph in the Winter 2010
Equity Quarterly. This is (left to right) Mary
Ellen Mahoney, Louise Pitre and Gabrielle Jones
in the Toronto production of Mamma Mia!
Letters on subjects of concern to Equity
members will be considered for publication. Letters must
be signed, but names will be withheld on request for
those letters that may affect members’ employment.
Letters that include artistic criticism of Equity members or
letters that are antagonistic or accusatory, either implied
or expressed, may be withheld or edited at the discretion
of the editor. Opinions expressed in Letters to the Editor
are not necessarily those of the Association.
PHOTO AND PRODUCTION CREDITS
Cover, inside front cover, contents page and various
censorship images throughout: Chris Blanchenot.
Page 5: Photo: Scott Munn. No Great Mischief (2009)
by David S. Young, adapted from the novel by Alistair
MacLeod, produced by Neptune Theatre. Directed by Richard
Rose. Cast: John Francis Dunsworth, Duncan Fraser, Stephen
Guy-McGrath, Martha Irving, Shannon Lynch, Billy MacLellan,
David Mcllwraith and Scott Owen. Stage managed by Donna
MacMillan assisted by Shani Hamilton Greenlaw.
Page 6: Photo: Andrée Lanthier. Mother Courage and
her Children (2010) by Bertolt Brecht co-produced by
the National Arts Centre English Theatre Company and
the Manitoba Theatre Centre. Directed by Peter Hinton.
Cast: Nisha Ahuja (apprentice), Michael Blake, Richard
Donat, Randi Helmers, Tanja Jacobs, Geordie Johnson,
Kris Joseph, Ron Kennell, John Koensgen, Jani Lauzon,
Julie Tamiko Manning, Alex McCooeye (apprentice), Niall
Patrick McNeil (apprentice), Matt Miwa (apprentice),
Jeremiah M. Sparks, Waneta Storms and Matthew
Tapscott. Production stage managed by Michael Hart
assisted by Joan Vanstone Osborn and rehearsal stage
managers Stéfanie Séguin and Samira Rose.
Page 7: Top left photo: Andrée Lanthier. The Ecstasy of
Rita Joe (2009) by George Ryga co-produced by the
National Arts Centre English Theatre Company and the
Western Canada Theatre. Directed by Yvette Nolan. Cast:
Pierre Brault, Layne Coleman, Ryan Cunningham, Todd
Duckworth, Telly James, Darcey Johnson, Falen Johnson,
Kevin Loring, Renae Morriseau, Jeremy Proulx, Michelle St.
John, Lisa Ravensbergen and August Schellenberg. Stage
managed by Kelly Manson assisted by Samira Rose. Top
right photo: Andrée Lanthier. A Christmas Carol (2009)
by Charles Dickens produced by the National Arts Centre
English Theatre Company. Directed by Peter Hinton. Cast:
Nisha Ahuja (apprentice), Michael Blake, Richard Donat,
Randi Helmers, Tanja Jacobs, Geordie Johnson, Kris Joseph,
Ron Kennell, John Koensgen, Jani Lauzon, Julie Tamiko
Manning, Alex McCooeye (apprentice), Niall Patrick McNeil
(apprentice), Matt Miwa (apprentice), Stephen Ouimette,
Jeremiah M. Sparks, Waneta Storms, and Matthew Tapscott.
Production stage managed by Jane Vanstone Osborn
assisted by Stéfanie Séguin. Bottom photo: Photo Features
Ltd. Mother Courage and her Children (1979/80) by Bertolt
Brecht produced by the National Arts Centre. Directed by
John Woods with the performers and stage management of
the inaugural resident ensemble at the NAC.
Page 8: Photo of Judith Thompson by David Laurence.
Bottom photo: Cylla von Tiedemann. White Biting Dog
(1994) by Judith Thompson produced by Tarragon
Theatre as part of the du Maurier World Stage. Directed
by Morris Panych. Cast: Patricia Collins, Maria Lamont,
Daniel MacIvor, Peter MacNeill and David Storch. Stage
managed by Cheryl Francis.
Page 10: I Love You, Baby Blue published script cover
courtesy of Theatre Passe Muraille and Archival and Special
Collections, University of Guelph Library. Newspaper headline
from The Sunday Sun (April 20, 1975) courtesy of Archival
and Special Collections, University of Guelph Library.
Page 12: Photo from I Love You, Baby Blue published script
courtesy of Theatre Passe Muraille and Archival and Special
Collections, University of Guelph Library.
Page 14: Photo: James May. My Name is Rachel Corrie
(2007) taken from the writings of Rachel Corrie, edited
by Alan Rickman and Katharine Viner produced by Sage
Theatre. Directed by Ian Prinsloo. Cast: Adrienne Smook.
Production managed by Heather Crossan and stage
managed by Rachel Parris.
Page 15: Photo of Zarganar courtesy of the International
Committee for Artists’ Freedom.
Page 16: Photo courtesy of Christopher Morris.
Page 18: Photo of Goldie Semple by David Cooper courtesy
of the Shaw Festival.
Page 19: Photo of Joan Orenstein courtesy of Centaur Theatre.
Page 21: News release courtesy of Archival and Special
Collections, University of Guelph Library.
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EQ Moves
Onward and upward with the arts
The following Order of Canada announcements were
made in December 2009: National Arts Centre English
Theatre Artistic Director Peter Hinton, O.C., was made
an Officer of the Order of Canada for his contributions
as a champion of Canadian theatre, and as a director,
playwright, teacher and theatre administrator. Actor
Tantoo Cardinal, C.M., was made a Member of the
Order of Canada in recognition of her contributions to
the growth and development of Aboriginal performing arts in Canada and as a founding member of the
Saskatchewan Native Theatre Company. Toronto’s
Wayne Strongman, C.M., was made a Member of the
Order of Canada for his innovative contributions as
the founding artistic director of Tapestry New Opera
Works and as the long-time volunteer choral director for the Regent Park School of Music. Bob White,
C.M., from Calgary, was made a Member of the Order
of Canada for his contributions as a dramaturge in the
creation, development and production of hundreds of
new Canadian plays, and for his role in the promotion
of arts and culture in Alberta.
Henry Woolf, Equity Life Member was honoured
this January in Saskatoon for his contributions to the
theatre world. Henry, who just turned 80, got his
start in 1957 touring Ireland and performing in eight
different Shakespeare plays a week. He taught at the
University of Saskatchewan, and ran the Shakespeare
on the Saskatchewan Festival for a decade.
Duncan Fraser received a Best Actor Robert Merritt Award for his work in Neptune
Theatre’s production of No Great Mischief. (L to R) David McIlwraith, Duncan Fraser
and Shannon Lynch
Theatre directors Beatriz Pizano of Toronto and Christian Lapointe
of Quebec City are the winners of the John Hirsch Prizes administered by the Canada Council for the Arts. The two $6,000 prizes
are awarded every second year to emerging professional theatre
directors – one working in English and one working in French.
Candidates must have no more than 10 years of experience as a
professional director as well as have demonstrated great potential
and an exciting artistic vision.
Theatre actor, director, teacher and mentor John Koensgen was
named a finalist for the Victor Tolgesy Arts Award, awarded by the
Council for the Arts in Ottawa in recognition of the accomplishments of a resident who has contributed substantially to enriching
cultural life in the city. In addition, theatre director Patrick Gauthier
has been named a finalist for the RBC Emerging Artist Award.
Ronda Kellington is the new Executive Director of the Playwrights
Guild of Canada.
s p ri n g 2 0 1 0 Kendra Fry is the new General Manager of Toronto’s Theatre
Passe Muraille. Robin Phillips was named a 2010 recipient of a Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement.
This prestigious honour is bestowed to artists who have made an
enduring contribution to culture in Canada.
Jessica Wadsworth began work as the new Administrative Assistant in
Equity’s Western Office in early April, replacing Mario Montera. She
comes to the Association with an arts background as a writer, fundraiser, tour manager, project coordinator and general manager.
Theatre Nova Scotia’s 2010 Robert Merritt Awards were
given out at Alderney Landing Theatre in Halifax on
March 29. Visit EQUITYONLINE at www.caea.com for a
link to the Merritt Awards, the Rideau Awards (April 18
in Ottawa, Ontario) and other award ceremonies across
Canada in 2010.
E quity Q uarterly 5
A reflection of Canada’s many
The NAC celebrates 40 years with the creation of a resident acting company
By Barb Farwell
Creating a
resident acting company was a dream
of Peter Hinton’s ever since he was appointed Artistic Director of
the National Arts Centre (NAC) English theatre in 2005.
“It is the mark of any great national theatre to have an ensemble of playwrights, directors and actors,” says Hinton.
So, in recognition of its 40th anniversary, the NAC formed an
English Theatre Company made up of 18 artists selected from
across the country. The group has already appeared in two productions, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, and Bertolt Brecht’s
Mother Courage and her Children. Mother Courage went on to
play at the Manitoba Theatre Centre in February.
To make the company as inclusive as possible, Hinton travelled with company dramaturg Paula Danckert to see productions
across the country. “Although the actor’s life is a gypsy’s life,
some artists manage to stay in one area,” says Hinton. Therefore
it was important to travel to places like Manitoba, Saskatchewan
and Newfoundland to see local actors in action.
The result is an ensemble that reinforces multiple perspectives,
says Hinton, which sometimes shines through in surprising ways.
6 E quity Q uarterly
For example, when the cast was rehearsing A Christmas Carol it
was remarked that Ebenezer Scrooge’s experience of being sent
away to boarding school in 1840s England had the same overtones
of family dislocation that Aboriginal children sent to Residential
Schools in Canada had a century later.
“Never, in a million years would I have connected A Christmas
Carol to Residential Schools,” says Hinton.
This is not the first time the NAC has had a resident acting
company. When it was founded in 1969 it had a bilingual resident
company that performed in plays in both French and English.
Hinton says the resident company is here to stay, but it will
continue to evolve. “It’s important to keep an open casting net
over the next three years.”
Some Canadian productions are in the works, as well as adding
some Theatre for Young Audiences into the repertory.
But the acting company is only part of the celebrations
surrounding the NAC’s 40th anniversary. The celebrations kicked
off last April with a performance of George Ryga’s The Ecstasy of
Rita Joe, which was the NAC’s first production 40 years ago. The
s p ri n g 2 0 1 0
cultural perspectives
opposite page: (L to R) Waneta Storms, Tanja
Jacobs, Matthew Tapscott and Richard Donat in
Bertolt Brecht’s Mother Courage and her Children,
one of the first productions featuring the NAC’s
new English Theatre Company
Top left: (L to R) Kevin Loring, August
Schellenberg and Lisa Ravensbergen in last year’s
production of The Ecstasy of Rita Joe by George
Ryga. This was the NAC’s first production 40 years
ago and kicked off the anniversary celebrations
Top Right: Members of the resident acting company
(L to R) Waneta Storms, Stephen Ouimette, Julie
Tamiko Manning, Michael Blake, Kris Joseph and
Tanja Jacobs in A Christmas Carol. This was the first
time the play had ever been performed at the NAC
Bottom: (L to R) Charles Fletcher, Benedict
Campbell, Nicky Guadagni and the late Joan
Orenstein in the 1979/80 NAC production of
Mother Courage. Joan is Fondly Remembered
on page 19
NAC will end the year-long celebration with Where the Blood
Mixes, by B.C. writer and actor Kevin Loring, which deals with
some of the same issues as Rita Joe, except 40 years later.
“It’s a great picture of where we’ve travelled in 40 years. It
bookends our 40th year,” says Hinton.
Other productions during the anniversary celebrations included
The Drowsy Chaperone, the Canadian musical that was a smash
on Broadway, and Night, by Christopher Morris, which was presented in Inuktitut and English and featured the theatre debut of
young Nunavut actor Abbie Ootova.
s p ri n g 2 0 1 0 In this very exciting and historic season, it is interesting that Hinton
seems most proud of bringing A Christmas Carol to the NAC in
Ottawa, where it has never played before. It turns out seasonal family
theatre is what got Hinton hooked on theatre as a young child.
“It fills the heart with joy to see young people coming to the
theatre for the first time,” he says. “This was our gift to the audiences in Ottawa.”
For a complete list of the members of the NAC English Resident
Acting Company, you can go to http://www.nac-cna.ca/en/
news/viewnews.cfm?ID=2007&cat=catET
E quity Q uarterly 7
EQ&A
Confronting our lives through theatre
An EQ&A with playwright Judith Thompson
One of Canada’s most celebrated playwrights, Judith Thompson has not shied away
from writing about controversial topics. Her debut play The Crackwalker, dealt with
marginalized characters and ends with an infanticide. Other plays include I Am Yours,
about class warfare and the struggle for possession of a newborn baby, and Lion in
the Streets, about a murdered girl stalking her killer. She has twice won the Governor
General’s Award for White Biting Dog and the anthology The Other Side of the Dark.
EQ: How can artists and creators avoid
self-censorship when knowing that tackling sensitive topics may keep their work
from being produced?
EQ: What are some of the controversial
topics you have dealt with in your plays?
JT: My plays have dealt with poverty,
infanticide, mental illness, suicide, class war,
baby theft, child murder, disability, divorce,
immigration, memory, epilepsy, NIMBYism
(Not In My Back Yard), homelessness, war
and torture.
JT: They need to be trained from an early
age to trust their own instincts, and tell
the truth as they see it... on the other
hand, there is no need for gratuitous and
graphic violence or sexuality – especially if
it obscures the story you are trying to tell.
And if it is exploitative, it is dangerous and
should not be allowed.
EQ: Is there a big difference in writing for
film as opposed to theatre?
JT: Yes, a big difference. In film, one is
writing, ultimately, for the director. In the
theatre, the voice of the playwright is the
voice of the play, with the director and
actors as interpreters. In the premiere production the playwright is usually present at
rehearsals, collaborating with the director.
EQ: Is it easier to write about sensitive
topics nowadays, or is it getting harder?
JT: It is easy for me to write about sensitive topics... people expect it from me
now! And audiences very much want to
engage with serious theatre. Entertainment is fine, we all need distractions, but
my theatre has never been about entertainment – which to me, means distraction
from our lives, whereas theatre is about
confronting our lives.
EQ: Has a play of yours ever been censored?
JT: No, but they are rarely done in large
commercial houses.
EQ: How do negative reactions affect you
as a creator?
JT: They don’t. There is such positive reaction to the truth that any negative reaction
is irrelevant.
EQ: How to you work with artists in the
rehearsal process to understand and feel
true to challenging material?
JT: I try to tell stories and coax them to tell
stories that relate to the material. I create
a comfortable and non-judgmental atmosphere in the room so that the actors can
draw on their own interior lives.
8 E quity Q uarterly
(L to R) David Storch, Patricia Collins, Maria Lamont and Daniel MacIvor in Judith Thompson’s
play White Biting Dog, which won the Governor General’s Award for Drama in 1985
s p ri n g 2 0 1 0
EQ Backstage
“While
EI benefits
are worth
considering,
you’ll want
to do so in
the context of
your financial
situation...”
s p ri n g 2 0 1 0 Make sure the new self-employed
EI benefits are right for you
At the end of 2009 the Fairness for the Self-Employed Act was finally passed. This extends
Employment Insurance (EI) special benefits to people who are self-employed.
These are voluntary benefits – which means you can decide whether or not you want to opt in
for the benefits. If you want to – you must register with the government, and start contributing a
portion of your insurable earnings – just like you would if you had a full-time job.
The contribution rate is 1.73% of your insurable earnings – with the maximum insurable earnings
allowed being $43,200. At the maximum you would pay $747.36 a year. How much you receive
in benefits depends on how much you have paid into the program. For example, if you have paid
the maximum you would receive $457 a week.
But this is different from the kind of employment insurance you receive when you have been
working full-time and lose your job. The self-employed benefits do not provide you with income if
you are not working. This program only covers the following special benefits:
• Maternity benefits (15 weeks maximum) are available to birth mothers
• Parental/adoptive benefits (35 weeks maximum) may be taken by either parent or shared
between them
• Sickness benefits (15 weeks maximum) are available to a person who is unable to work because
of sickness or injury
• Compassionate care benefits (six weeks maximum) paid to a person who is away from work
providing care to a gravely ill family member
To receive benefits you need to opt into the program at least one year prior to making a claim.
That means if you register on April 1, 2010, you can make a claim on April 1, 2011. The other
condition is that you must have earned a minimum of $6,000 in self-employed earnings over the
preceding calendar year.
One other important fact to keep in mind is that if you opt into the program, and end up claiming benefits – you must continue to contribute to EI as long as you are self-employed. You cannot
opt out of the program some years down the road. But if you haven’t claimed any benefits, you
can opt out at the end of any tax year.
Ask yourself some important questions before registering for the program:
1.Are you thinking of having children in the next few years? The maternity and parental benefits could
be a great benefit. You can combine maternity and parental benefits up to a maximum of 50 weeks.
2.Do you have any other accident or sickness insurance? Know what insurance you currently
have and how it works together with the EI benefits. Equity members have insurance through
the Association. Some members buy additional disability and critical illness insurance.
3.Are the compassionate care benefits worth the yearly contribution? If you have elderly parents with
health problems this benefit may look attractive – but it is only provided for a maximum of six weeks. It
may make more sense for you to use your savings to cover yourself during a family member’s illness.
“While EI benefits are worth considering, you’ll want to do so in the context of your financial
situation,” says James Simon of Proteus Planning Management, which administers the Equity Group
RSP plan. “First you want to ensure that what you bring in exceeds what’s going out, then you can
consider your options – including EI benefits – in the context of your financial plan. A solid financial
plan is a must – especially for the self-employed.”
Visit http://www.servicecanada.gc.ca/eng/sc/ei/self_employed_workers.shtml to learn
more. For questions about the benefits or financial planning, contact James Simon at
[email protected] For questions about Equity’s insurance coverage, please
contact ACE at 1-877-772-7797, ext. 2864.
E quity Q uarterly 9
DANGER DANGER DANGER
Ce n s o r s h i p
rear s
it s
u g ly
h ea d
o n
Ca n a d ia n
Artistic freedom
By Matthew Hays
For many
The idea of police officers entering a theatre and threatening to shut down a play
seems pretty strange by today’s standards, but that is what happened in 1975 to
the Toronto production of I Love You, Baby Blue at Theatre Passe Muraille
theatre artists, the spectre of censorship is largely something that’s relegated to the past. The idea
of police officers entering a theatre and actually shutting down a
show seems pretty strange.
For director Paul Thompson, the memory is a vivid one. As
he describes it, the 1970s was an extremely exciting time in the
evolution of Canadian theatre – but it was also a time when artists faced very real threats around censorship, especially when it
applied to sexual content. As artistic director of Toronto’s Theatre Passe Muraille from 1970-82, some of these battles involved
Thompson very directly.
“In 1974, Toronto really bust out as a sexual place,” says
Thompson. “It was as if the city had decided it had invented sex.
There were strip clubs popping up everywhere. There were blue
movies broadcast on Citytv every Friday night. We decided to put
on a show that reflected these changes in the nature of the city.”
The result was the collective creation I Love You, Baby Blue,
which premiered in 1975 in a huge church. While exploring
Toronto’s newly discovered sexual passions, it became a hit, selling out for weeks. Given this new sense of sexual freedom and
awakening, Thompson was surprised to find members of Toronto’s vice squad arriving on the venue’s doorstep.
“They asked to sit through it, so I said fine,” Thompson recalls.
“Some of the things they took issue with were just ridiculous.
They seemed to have less of a problem with depictions of sexuality than with women characters who were speaking frankly about
sex. For example, there was one woman who said the words
‘blow job’ seven times. They said that was too many. I asked them
what we should change the words to, and they said that ‘giving
head’ would be less offensive.”
CENSORED CENSORED CENS
10 E quity Q uarterly
s p ri n g 2 0 1 0
DANGER DANGER DANGER
s ta g e s
in Canada
Busted by the police
“And that’s getting harder for them to control, given new tech-
Twelve weeks into the run of Baby Blue, and the police busted
nology like the Internet.”
the show. “They told us that it had become a lot raunchier dur-
But, he warns, there’s a great big reason to keep our guard up.
ing the run, but there were other reasons. The premier was up
Kelly argues that even when legislators have the best of inten-
for re-election and he had declared he was going to ‘clean up’
tions, laws surrounding what can and can’t be represented are
Yonge Street. It was ridiculous, really because we were about
used to silence artists. And he points to an example from the
to close – we only had three performances left. We went ahead
visual-arts milieu as an indicator of how the letter of the law can
and performed the show anyway. A number of people joined us
be twisted. In 1993, the Montreal-born artist Eli Langer had an
onstage, and we invited the cameras in.”
exhibition of paintings and drawings at Toronto’s Mercer Union
In effect, this show of support by the public let the police know
Gallery that explored issues surrounding childhood sexuality. In a
that if they did try to shut Baby Blue down, they would have had
case that made headlines in the national press, the Toronto police
a lot of bad publicity to reckon with.
shut down the exhibition, citing the Canadian government’s new
And the fallout for Theatre Passe Muraille? It further enhanced
the company’s reputation for creating edgy, envelope-pushing art,
child pornography legislation.
And Kelly says therein lies a huge lesson for all artists and writ-
elevated their profile, and also supplied a very happy ending.
ers. As he points out, when the government brought in that leg-
“I asked everyone involved in the show to donate 1% of their
income to a fund to buy a permanent venue for Theatre Passe
Muraille,” recalls Thompson. “The show was a huge hit so we
were making good money. At the end of the run the fund had
$30,000. We used that money to buy the venue that remains the
home of Theatre Passe Muraille today.”
islation, they made it clear that it would never be used against
artists. But within a year of that promise, it had been.
Kelly points to Part 5, Section 163, of Canada’s Criminal Code,
which states that “Every one commits an offence who … makes,
prints, publishes, distributes, circulates, or has in his possession for the
purpose of publication, distribution or circulation any obscene matter,
picture, model, phonograph record or other thing whatever…”
The wording is so vague that Kelly suggests a government or
police force giving in to “a right-wing moment” could begin using
the law to shut down free expression. Kelly insists that “this is a
very serious situation,” and that as long as the possibility exists,
“it’s something people need to be aware of.”
We need to keep our guard up
Cultural policy expert Keith Kelly says he suspects most Canadians
think of censorship as something that happens elsewhere, and for
the most part, they would be correct.
“We see censorship in all the totalitarian countries,” he says.
SORED CENSORED CENSORED
s p ri n g 2 0 1 0 E quity Q uarterly 11
DANGER DANGER DANGER
Ce n s o r s h i p
rear s
it s
u g ly
h ea d
o n
Ca n a d ia n
Restricted by sponsors
(L to R) Joanna McIntyre, Howard Cooper and Terry Schonbium bare it all for
I Love You, Baby Blue. A strong show of public support helped stop the show
from getting shut down and also raised money to buy a permanent home for
Theatre Passe Muraille
Sometimes, censorship can take on much less direct, and more
insidious forms. Michael Dobbin says artistic directors across the
country often feel restricted by the possibility that sponsors might
not want to have their names associated with controversial material.
He found this out firsthand when, as artistic director of Calgary’s
Alberta Theatre Projects, he programmed both parts of Angels in
America to be performed as part of the 1996-97 season.
Dobbin says he knew that taking on the show presented “quite
a financial risk,” given the play’s often racy subject matter. But
even though the play had already won a Pulitzer and several
Tonys, local conservative media took umbrage with the show.
One Calgary Herald columnist described the play as “offering all
the benefits of left-wing enlightenment provided by wobbly bare
male bottoms, simulated homosexual copulation, and language
that would sear the ears of a sailor’s parrot.”
Not to be outdone, The Calgary Sun promptly joined in the
mob dog pile, calling Tony Kushner’s work “a seven-hour gay
epic including sex scenes between men, frequent partial nudity
and plenty of swearing.” The Sun’s editorial writers wrote that
“Due to cutbacks, hospitals are closing and nurses are losing their
jobs, teachers have been laid off, schools are overcrowded, and
the elderly are caught in a vice… Yet taxpayers are still having to
hand over hundreds of thousands of dollars to a company that
stages a self-indulgent production many feel is abhorrent.”
“Two MLAs said we should have our funding cut,” Dobbin
recalls. “I did a lot of media at that point. I asked one basic question over and over again: Should people who have never seen or
read this tell Albertans whether or not they can see it?”
A strange irony emerged in all of this. The Calgary Herald, the
very paper that had led the charge against the play, was also the
official sponsor of the show. And Dobbin says the publicity around
those who argued the show should be shut down backfired, with
the runs of both parts 1 and 2 being completely sold out.
More recent cases of censorship have involved politically sensitive
subjects. Many of the people interviewed for this story said that
CENSORED CENSORED CENS
12 E quity Q uarterly
s p ri n g 2 0 1 0
DANGER DANGER DANGER
s ta g e s
“
Even when legislators have the best of
intentions, laws surrounding what can and can’t
be represented are used to silence artists.
unrest in the Middle East – in particular the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
– always gets a rise out of subscriber bases and possible sponsors.
”
Actor and director Ian Prinsloo found similar resistance when he
set about to direct a production of My Name is Rachel Corrie at
Calgary’s Sage Theatre in the same year. “When word got out that
Unrest in the Middle East
When Vancouver actor and producer Adrienne Wong
first read My Name is Rachel Corrie, she knew immediately that she wanted to play the central role in the
one-woman show. The play recounts the life of Corrie, a young American woman who protested Israeli
actions in the Palestinian territories, and was ultimately
killed when an Israeli bulldozer rolled over her.
Wong played the role in a celebrated co-production by Montreal’s Teesri Duniya and Vancouver’s Neworld theatre companies,
running in 2007-08. “We received a phone call right after announcing that we were going to do the show,” Wong recalls. “Someone
warned us that an MP planned to raise the question in the House
of Commons: How is it that government funds were going towards
anti-Israeli propaganda?” (The play was already something of a hot
potato, as a number of theatres – including Toronto’s CanStage –
had dropped plans to produce it.)
Wong says Neworld Theatre received one anonymous email
prior to the show going up. “Due to the spelling, I suspected
it was coming from the U.S. It warned us that there would be
picketers protesting the show. I was very careful to make sure
that I contacted the activist community before the show opened.
I worked really hard to talk to both people on the pro-Israel and
pro-Palestinian sides. I worked at opening dialogue, hosting panel
discussions after performances.”
Gay play triggers uproar
— Angels in America attacked in Calgary
Anger r
over gay ises
p
l
a
– MLA w
y
ants f
unding
tied to
public
taste
Top: Headline from The Globe and Mail (September 26, 1996)
Bottom: Reaction to Alberta Theatre Projects’ Angels in America,
The Calgary Sun (September 13, 1996)
SORED CENSORED CENSORED
s p ri n g 2 0 1 0 E quity Q uarterly 13
DANGER DANGER DANGER
The
sport of
censorship
Insert Olympic Rings here*
Adrienne Smook in the Calgary Sage Theatre production of My Name is
Rachel Corrie, directed by Ian Prinsloo
we would be doing the show in Calgary, we received an invitation to
meet with members of the city’s Jewish community. They expressed
concerns about the ways the issues would be portrayed. They never
said the play shouldn’t be done. What was happening was much
more subtle and difficult to navigate. By questioning the facts of the
play, by questioning whether or not Rachel was informed or just
naïve, that in effect called our voice into question.”
The show did well and sold out, but Prinsloo says if he’d been in
his old job – he used to be the artistic director of the larger Theatre
Calgary – selling the Rachel Corrie play “would have been much,
much harder.”
Sex and politics aside, Dobbin, who is now a freelance actor and
director, and artistic director of The Creative City Consultancy in
Vancouver, says the biggest challenge the Canadian theatre faces
is the very real prospect of self-censorship.
Dobbin charges that Canadian artistic directors are so afraid of
upsetting their subscriber base, putting off sponsors, or angering conservative politicians, that they’re serving up the least offensive works
they can think of. “I think that self-censorship is endemic among
artistic directors in Canada. It’s a wrongly perceived economics around
the theatre. Look at how safe 90% of programming is at all of the
established Canadian theatres. It’s very conservative programming.
“I think the biggest risk we face is boring our audiences to
death.”
Matthew Hays is a Montreal-based journalist whose work has appeared in The
Globe and Mail, The Daily Beast, The New York Times, The Guardian, CBC Arts
Online and The Canadian Theatre Review. He teaches courses in film studies and
journalism at Concordia University.
While much was made of the great publicity Canada would
gain by hosting the 2010 Winter Olympics, it seems the
organizing committee didn’t want anyone getting the idea
they were in a country that championed free speech.
A number of artists charged that the Vancouver Olympic
Organizing Committee (VANOC) was muzzling them when
they insisted all those participating sign what amounted to
a vow of silence.
The specific clause in the contract stated: “The artist shall at all times refrain from making any negative or
derogatory remarks respecting VANOC, the 2010 Olympic
and Paralympic Games, the Olympic movement generally,
Bell and/or other sponsors associated with VANOC.”
In protest of what he saw as a trampling over freedom
of speech, Vancouver’s poet laureate, Brad Cran, declined to
contribute to the cultural festivities that were part of Vancouver’s 2010 games. “(The contract) says that artists who are
participating are not allowed to criticize VANOC, the Olympics or any sponsors,” he told the CBC. “And this is something
that, for instance, wasn’t in the Cultural Olympiad in Salt Lake
City. It’s all sort of added up to the fact that there was a perfect storm of things that wouldn’t allow my participation.”
“That clause was indeed problematic for artists,” says
Amiel Gladstone, producer of HIVE 3, which was featured
at the Olympiad. “We had many discussions as a group
of companies as to how we felt and there were many different opinions about what kind of stand we would need
to take in order to create the art that we needed to create.
We were in a different position than many artists in the
Olympics as we hadn’t created what we were going to
perform yet. Our contract with VANOC is confidential (in
fact they were the ones that released the clause in question
to the media) but suffice to say we reached an agreement
in the language of our contract that we felt comfortable
with and reassurances that we could do exactly the art that
we needed to do without any outside interference.”
* EQ wanted to use a reproduction of the Olympic Rings but they are protected by
copyright. We’re not even sure if we can print the words “Olympic Rings.”
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14 E quity Q uarterly
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A rti s t s a n d p erf o r m er s ri s k t h eir live s f o r art
The brutal reality
of censorship
around the world
By Cynthia Macdonald
“A writer who
There was this
lucky Burmese chap
who managed to
get a passport and
travel to India. He
visited a dentist for
treatment. “Why
not wait until you’re
home agan and visit
your dentist there?” he was asked. “Don’t
you have dentists in Burma?”
“Sure,” said the Burmese visitor. “But
we can’t open our mouths.”
– Burmese comedian Zarganar
is linked to his times,” said
the controversial Italian playwright Dario Fo, “should put
his hands into the awful things
of life. You have to plunge into
the muck.”
Fo has built a long career on
plunging into the muck, and
has paid a high price for it. His
theatre in Milan was bombed,
and he has been repeatedly
censored and spied on. Worst
of all, his wife and colleague,
actor Franca Rame, was once
kidnapped, tortured and raped
by a fascist group opposed to
the couples’ work.
It is shocking that the act of
staging a play should give rise
to such violence; unfortunately, across the world today, many
playwrights and performers have learned the hard way that their
profession is inherently dangerous. Many languish in prisons, and
some are in hiding. Others have been victims of terrible violence,
but choose to carry on anyway. “I have the utmost respect for
people like this, because when they speak out they can be certain
the government is going to come down on their heads,” says
Amnesty International’s Michael Craig. “But they feel compelled
to tell the truth.”
One such person is Afghan actor Parwin Mushthal. Over the
years, the 42-year-old mother of two has enjoyed an extremely
successful career. But her work has cost her dearly. A sitcom regular in her native Kabul, Mushthal has also appeared in television
commercials, as well as dozens of films and more than 20 theatre
productions. It seemed like she lived a charmed life, but that was
not the case.
s p ri n g 2 0 1 0 Death threats
Her husband’s family considered
her livelihood to be immoral.
“When his brothers came from
the provinces to our home as
guests, we didn’t put on the TV
because I was always on ads,”
Mushthal said in an interview
with the BBC last year. “I was
scared that they would see it, so
I would just put on a DVD and
show them that.”
“I know that she would get a
lot of death threats on her cell
phone, and people would leave
letters,” says Toronto actor and
director Christopher Morris, who
met Mushthal in October 2008
when he was in Kabul researching and casting Petawawa, a play
he is currently creating about the
conflict in Afghanistan. “She was walking down the street and a man
cycled by and punched her in the back of her head.”
Mushthal kept working nonetheless, planning, amid other projects, to work with Morris upon his return to Afghanistan. The two
bade each other goodbye. Two months later, Morris received an
urgent long-distance call from her, which he had trouble understanding. “She doesn’t speak English, and I don’t speak Dari,” he
says. “I didn’t know what she wanted. I thought maybe she got
another job and couldn’t do the show.”
Morris eventually learned the truth, with the help of a colleague
who spoke Dari: Mushthal’s husband had just been shot to death
by unknown assailants in Kabul. She herself was in hiding, wearing
a much-hated burqa “because it was too dangerous not to.”
Mushthal ultimately fled with her children to Pakistan, where
she sought and received refugee status; on March 4 of this year,
E quity Q uarterly 15
A rti s t s a n d p erf o r m er s ri s k t h eir live s f o r art
she and her two children were able to make their way to Toronto.
There, she hopes to start anew, with the help of Christopher Morris and her newfound Canadian theatre community. “She’s been
saying over and over again that she loves Canada and Toronto
and is so happy to be here,” says Morris. “She’s had quite an
incredible journey.”
Morris might seem an unlikely rescuer. He describes himself as
an international, rather than political artist. He always felt “drawn
to creating work that explores the human condition when it’s
placed in its most extreme scenarios and environments,” he says,
little knowing that life would soon imitate art.
Morris’s fascination with the theatre of other cultures developed
while he was on a student exchange in Ireland in the 1990s. In time
he founded Human Cargo, a company that specializes in collaborations between Canadian actors and those from abroad. Petawawa is
a prime example. The collective work “shows how the war affects the
families of soldiers who are fighting in the Afghan conflict, from the
perspectives of Canadian, Pakistani, Afghan and Taliban families.”
Researching Petawawa, Morris met with numerous Afghan
actors, including Mushthal, and was happily surprised. “I thought
there wouldn’t be female actors, but there were, and there’s
theatre. It’s a very advanced, developed culture there.”
But there were problems. Without imagining what was in store
for Mushthal, he did hear stories that chilled him. One younger
actor told him, for example, that she couldn’t appear in his play,
lest she be killed for being seen as a prostitute. “It hurts a society
when they target women – women who are doing something,”
Morris theorizes. “It unnerves people more.”
Sexual immorality
Indeed, in many other countries sexual immorality is frequently cited
as a reason to punish performers; a sentence of 74 lashes was recently
meted out to an Iranian female actor who kissed a man onstage. And
in January of this year, a French-Algerian playwright named Rayahana
was doused in gasoline and almost set afire in the streets of Paris, after
the premiere of a play she wrote that contained unflattering views of
Muslim men. She has now been placed under police protection.
Sometimes, the problem is not one of morality, but visibility.
“Actors embody the human experience,” says Morris. “They give
tangible power to [a message] because it’s in human form. What
they do is very powerful.”
In conjunction with other human rights groups, Amnesty International and the U.K.-based International Committee for Artists’
Freedom (ICAF) are currently monitoring the plight of a Burmese
comedian who calls himself Zarganar (the word translates as
“tweezers”.) The 49-year-old has serious health problems, and
is currently serving a staggering 35-year sentence for criticizing
the government’s relief efforts in the wake of Cyclone Nargis. His
reputation as a popular satirist is thought to have cursed him.
Above: Afghan actor Parwin Mushtahel (second from right) arrives safely in Toronto with her two children, Shugofa and Ahmad, thanks to the help
of Christopher Morris and Gillian Gallow
Previous page: Comedian Zarganar and one of the jokes that incensed the Burmese government
16 E quity Q uarterly
s p ri n g 2 0 1 0
Zarganar’s career (he is also a poet, filmmaker, and dental surgeon) has repeatedly landed him in trouble, says Louise McMullan of the ICAF. “After the 1998 pro-democracy demonstrations
he was arrested and sent to Insein Prison,” where famed opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has also been repeatedly held, says
McMullan. “He was arrested again in 1990, while cracking jokes
at a political rally... he spent five years in solitary confinement.”
The ICAF is one
of very few groups
around the world
devoted to freedom
of expression for performers. In the past
year alone, it has acted
on behalf of threatened individuals or groups in Pakistan, Iraq, Argentina, Bosnia/
Herzegovina and Gaza.
Another Burmese troupe that has benefited from ICAF’s assistance is a satirical trio called the Mustache Brothers. To foreigners, the Brothers’ blend of vaudeville and slapstick may seem like
harmless fun; to the government of Burma/Myanmar, it is anything
but. Because of their constant political mockery, the Brothers have
endured numerous jail sentences. Two of them were forced at one
point to break rocks in a labour camp while their feet were bound by
iron bars. Currently, they are allowed to perform (for tourists only)
in the front room of their house. “I want to speak my gut!” Brother
Lu Maw shouts exuberantly, in a video available on the Internet. “I
want to give hot tip! Tourists come, I tell them everything.”
Private homes have been a frequent refuge for actors who
are prevented from working in public. Perhaps the most famous
example is the “living-room Macbeth” performed by blacklisted
celebrities in communist Czechoslovakia. In it, Malcolm’s speech
was spoken by five actors instead of one, to indicate that only a
group, not an individual, can defeat corruption.
“
with the government, the government wins every time.” There is
evidence of theatrical censorship in China, but it goes unreported
in the media (not to mention that China’s Internet censorship is
extremely extensive.) Sometimes, measures such as information
control make it very difficult to assess the extent of artistic repression in a given country.
When theatrical artists are killed, imprisoned, or harmed in any
other way, the question can also be raised:
Was it their work or
their activism that led
them into danger?
The political commentary of Zarganar,
for example, was no
doubt controversial, but it was his comments to journalists that
ostensibly landed him in jail. Amnesty International is currently
campaigning on behalf of many other artists – though “art” is
rarely cited as an infraction. Rather, the detainees are being held
unlawfully on vague charges such as theft or assault.
Some observers feel that those who work in the theatre are imperilled on an international scale as never before. Politically-inclined
British playwright David Edgar has written that the punitive censor’s
main battleground used to be books, but has, over the last 25 years,
shifted to the performing arts. He believes this has to do with the
increasing inability of people to understand the difference between
what happens onstage and in real life. “It is more necessary than
ever to protect fiction’s power not just to explain, but to empathize,
to imagine and indeed inspire,” he writes.
In spite of the terrifying drama that has accompanied its creation,
Morris insists that Petawawa will go on. “All this has happened,
and it’s getting wilder in Afghanistan,” he says; consequently, even
though another fact-finding trip was planned, “I don’t know how
or if I want to go back. But whatever we do, we’re going to get
the information.” It appears that raw courage – as well as art – are
commodities that easily transcend borders.
Sexual immorality is frequently
cited as a reason to punish performers –
especially female performers.
Shakespeare used as code
Even today, Shakespeare – long-dead, and as such seemingly
“safe” – is still used as a code to transmit messages that might
otherwise be controversial. Christopher Morris recalls seeing
Hamlet in the Georgian Republic several years ago: “It was before
their Rose Revolution, when Shevardnadze was still in power. The
audience got a different message from it than I did – they were
hearing things that I didn’t get.”
Evidently, censorship can take both public and private forms.
But public, or government-sanctioned repression, may be the
hardest to work under, since it affords no recourse for the artist.
And such repression can be subtle, says Michael Craig of Amnesty
International. Speaking of the situation in China, he says that
“many artists are represented on paper, but not in fact. The country respects free speech, but when that speech comes in conflict
s p ri n g 2 0 1 0 ”
Cynthia Macdonald is a freelance journalist and novelist in Toronto, who regularly
writes on the relationship between art and social justice.
Visit these websites to find out more
about censorship around the world:
The International Committee for Artists’
Freedom (ICAF)
www.artistsfreedom.org
Amnesty International
www.amnesty.ca
International PEN
www.internationalpen.org.uk
E quity Q uarterly 17
Fondly Remembered
Marigold Ann Semple Kennedy – “Goldie” 1952 - 2009
By Marian Bannerman
Gold is the most malleable of all
Peter Pan to The Shadow Box; permetals; a single gram can be beaten
forming writers from William Coninto a sheet of one square metre, or
greve to Caryl Churchill to Anton
an ounce into 300 square feet. While
Chekhov; inhabiting characters from
much was made throughout her life
Lizzie Borden to Patient Griselda.
of the apt symbolism of Goldie’s
Goldie’s considerable talents
name, it was usually in association
extended to mentoring the next
with light and glitter and things of
generation, through her teaching
great value – and quite right, too.
and workshops with young actors
These are all fair descriptives of her
and students. Her love of words in all
personal and professional life. But
forms led her to compose and perthe surprising, unique, natural qualform gem-like programs of readings
ity of gold – the ability of this strong
and music with Foolscap in Stratford,
substance to stretch so exponentially
and Voices at the Museum in Niagwith no loss of essence or shine –
ara-on-the-Lake. Her professional
gets at something more fundamenlife continually broadened – directtal in Goldie’s gifts.
ing readings, holding seminars, and
The surprising truth about somemore – but never seemed to thin or
thing beautiful was always more
lose its luster for all its range.
interesting to Goldie, the complex
The true scope of Goldie’s life is
heart of what seems valuable and
better measured in people, however.
light. We are fortunate that when
Her friendships were many, often
her work and talent and curiosity and
long, and always cherished. She
Goldie
Semple
as
The
Honorable
Clare
Wedderburn
in
Brief
intelligence led her to find that truth
had beauty, and intelligence, and
and complexity, she shared her finds Encounters at the Shaw Festival
wit, but there was nothing ethereal
so freely with us.
about her. She could cook, she could
Goldie was a graduate of the University of British Columbia, eat, she could sew. She knew about nature, and science; loved
and also trained at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School in the U.K. to walk; and read books – excellent and pulpy. She could keep a
During her more than 30-year career in theatre, she played at most confidence. She made great jam, and taught others to, too. She
points in between. Performing at the Arts Club Theatre, Vancou- had opinions, clear and big ones. She liked people, of every age,
ver Playhouse, Manitoba Theatre Centre, Alberta Theatre Projects, who could make her laugh, and she liked being teased. She loved
Canadian Stage, Tarragon Theatre, and Neptune Theatre, among games and surprises. She was a true, smart, fun, compassionate
others across the country, Goldie also spent nine seasons at Strat- friend, and the circle of those who loved her stretched so far it
ford, and 17 at the Shaw Festival.
was almost translucent. At the centre of that circle, and of her
A few of her many notable roles include: Cleopatra in Anthony world, were her husband of 33 years, actor Lorne Kennedy, and
and Cleopatra, Lady Macbeth in Macbeth, Katherine in The their beloved daughter, Madeline.
Taming of the Shrew, Mrs. Warren in Mrs. Warren’s Profession,
Although eight years of living with breast cancer (she hated the
Desiree in A Little Night Music, Larita in Easy Virtue, Marie Dup- term “battle,” just as she did “victim,” in relation to the disease)
lessis in Camille, and Rosemary in Picnic. But Goldie stretched stretched Goldie and her family, it never broke her. She was strong,
further than leading parts: She was also outstanding in plays from and ductile, and died peacefully at home, very much herself.
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In Memoriam
2009
Joseph Bird
Irene Blum
Douglas Campbell
Brenda Devine
Norris Domingue
James B. Douglas
Bill Forbes
Barbara Franklin
Patricia Gage
Lorena Gale
William B. Hart
Joan Orenstein in La Sagouine at the Centaur Theatre
Joan Orenstein 1923 – 2009
By Laurie A. Champagne
Doreen M. Ibsen
Shirley Knight
Sylvia Lennick
Paul MacLeod
The word convenient was not in Joan Orenstein’s lexicon. Nor was the word indifferent.
Passion was. Intensity was. Joan cared. About her husband, Henry, and five beautiful
daughters, about the state of the world, about the characters she brought to life, and
about the state of the people she touched with her generosity.
I first saw Joan in Back to Beulah at the National Arts Centre. She was one of the
treasures John Wood brought with him from Halifax to start the National Arts Centre’s
English Theatre Company. I was an assistant stage manager starting my career and I
was amazed at the power emanating from this woman – the power that over her career
would bring to life Mother Courage, Emily Carr and Mrs. Warren.
As I came to know Joan I also came to bask in her warmth. Over the next decades
we toured the Arctic together, we rehearsed the garden scene from Mrs. Warren in my
Niagara-on-the-Lake backyard, and she welcomed me to her cottage in Nova Scotia.
She was always passionately interested in social justice and the responsibility of the
artist to those outside the theatre as well as those within. Joan surmounted the loss of
an eye mid-career with a ferocious determination – she had never been an ingénue and
as she aged she embraced the series of strong women she was born to play. She was a
strong woman herself – there were no excuses or playing down of her intellect and she
expected the women around her to do the same. In her presence we felt challenged and
rewarded. In her absence we remember her and are grateful.
s p ri n g 2 0 1 0 Ellen Monague
Neil Munro
Lloyd Nicholson
Joan Orenstein
Gloria Perks
Ann Purdon
Henry Ramer
David Ross
Jan Rubes
Goldie Semple
Shirley Sutherland
E quity Q uarterly 19
EQ Classifieds
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Screen, Director, Teacher and Coach.
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Friendly Coaching with Barbara
Gordon will help you choose a monologue
or gear up for an audition. With 30 years of
experience in theatres across Canada, film and
television, Barbara can lend an impartial eye
and ear to help you clarify your thinking and
boost your confidence. 416-535-0058
Carte-Blanche photo – Headshots
In need of a new headshot?
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• In studio or on location.
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KUDLOW & McCANN
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tel: 416-924-4780
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Gary Kudlow Ext. 23
Warren McCann Ext. 27 [email protected]
[email protected]
www.kudlowmccann.com
pirate voice
Make more per hour in a studio than
most actors make in one week on a stage.
Commercial voice work is a great way to
make money while you make art. And with
professional instruction and customized oneon-one training from Equity member and top
voice actor Tracey Hoyt, that’s just what you’ll
do. Learn more. Go to www.piratevoice.com
or call 416-594-4357 today.
VOICE COACHING WITH STELLA WALKER
With 20 years’ experience as a coach to individuals and ensembles, Stella will bring out
your true, unique voice. Fun one-on-one voice
lessons for actors and singers using healthy
classical vocal technique that can be applied
to popular song. Audition preparation, public
speaking, ensemble coaching, specialist in repairing damaged voices. Equity member. Stellaphone: 416-534-9958
Website (see bio) www.stellawalker.com
Artistic New Directions Master
Improv Retreat for Professional
Actors & Improvisors
• Improve your audition skills
• Receive personalized coaching
• Perform every night
Our Master Teachers: Gary Austin (Founder –
Groundlings LA), Michael J. Gellman & Kevin
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Full Moon Resort, Big Indian New York.
Monday July 19 - Friday July 23, 2010
To Apply: Email a copy of your picture and
résumé to [email protected]
For more info:
www.artisticnewdirections.org/retreats.html
Or call 212-875-1857
$50.00 discount for CAEA Members!
welcome NEW MEMBERS
Ontario
Marilo Nunez
Paula-Jean Prudat
Beryl Bain
Darrel Gamotin
Athena Lamarre
Mayko Nguyen
Sigrid Velis
Brendan McMurty Howlet
Jennifer Rider-Shaw
Dawna Joy Wightman
Wesley Connor
Holly Greene
Brian Bannatyne-Scott
Constance Towers
Jason Graae
Mindy Cohn
20 E quity Q uarterly
B.C. / Yukon
Ashley O’Connell
Laura Mennell
Elisa Aragon
Northern Alberta & N.W.T.
Kendra Connor
Jennifer Best
Dawn Friesen
Molly Flood
Southern Alberta
Julie Orton
Simone Saunders
Sara Trachsel
Saskatchewan
Alec McCauley
Judy Wensel
Manitoba/Nunavut
Natascha Hainsworth
Joseph Aragon
Natalie Rivalin
Carmen Melillo
Quebec
Liz Valdez
Elliott Larson
Paul Brian Imperial
Atlantic
Brad Hodder
Dance
Esabelle Yi Jou Chen
Kathryn Hosier
Jiri Jelinek
Western Opera
Shannon Chan-Kent
Holly Clark
The TaxXman – Peter Messaline
I’ve already helped someone you know.
Been blindsided by Canada Revenue? Work
with me and shrug it off. No attitude, just
experience and sympathy. Children, foreign
work, GST, incorporation advice, back taxes.
Tax for artists by an artist.
Call 416-960-9272 for free advice.
[email protected]
www.petermessaline.com
On the road...
The S.M.Arts
(Stage Managing the Arts)
Conference is coming to
Vancouver
May 13 - 16, 2010
Created by Winston Morgan
Directed by Janelle Rainville
Equity is a key S.M.Arts sponsor as
part of the Association’s professional
development mandate.
Hosted by Actsafe
1385 West 8th Avenue, Suite 280
• 10 courses led by theatre professionals
• An opportunity to network with participants and instructors
Courses being offered include:
Calling a Show, Health & Safety,
Giving Notes, Stage Managing
Dance, Stage Managing Opera, CAEA
agreements, Equity Apprenticeships,
ASMing, TYA, and Training Apprentices.
This conference is for the student stage
manager who wants to know more about
their career choice; the apprentice stage
manager who wants to hone their skills;
and the experienced stage manager who is
looking for diversification within their field.
Registration Info:
Single course fee: $35/course
Full conference pass: $270
To have a brochure
mailed or emailed to you please contact
[email protected]
Check out www.stagemanagingthearts.ca
s p ri n g 2 0 1 0
EQ Flashback
Equity fights back against censorship
In April 1975, the Toronto police
raided the Theatre Passe Muraille
production of I Love You, Baby Blue.
There was nudity and strong language in the show and a Detective
Sergeant from the Morality Squad
recommended cuts and changes to
the production.
Eleven weeks after that,
another two Detective Sergeants
appeared unannounced and
told the cast they would be
summoned and charged with
“taking part in an immoral theatrical performance.” The cast
decided to carry on and gave
three more performances.
Passe Muraille management
then decided to recruit some
audience members, other artists and high profile Torontonians and signed them to
Equity contracts. These new
“members” all appeared
on stage at the end of
each performance as part
of the acting company.
If the cast were arrested,
the police would have
to arrest everybody. No
further police action was
taken after that.
In support of its
members the Canadian
Executive Committee
of Equity sent out this
press release to make
a strong statement
against censorship
of any kind in the
theatre.
s p ri n g 2 0 1 0 E quity Q uarterly 21
EQ
E Q U I T Y
Q U A R T E R L Y
What to find at
Equityonline
www.caea.com
• 2010 award ceremony links
• Councillor, CPAG and Committee
contact information
• Online events calendar
• Personalized Privacy settings
• Member Only zone (update contact
information online)
• “e-search,” our online digital search
tool for the opera, ballet and theatre
agreements
Equity has gone...
2010 Honours Awards
Nomination deadline is May 1st
Life Membership in Equity is awarded to a member who has made
an outstanding contribution to the performing arts and to Equity.
Honorary Membership is awarded to a person who is not a
member of Equity but who has assisted in promoting the values
of the Association and made our Association and membership
stronger, and/or made an outstanding contribution to the performing arts in Canada.
The Larry McCance Award is awarded to a member of Equity
or Equity’s staff who has made an outstanding contribution to the
Association and its members.
Nomination forms are available at EQUITYONLINE at www.caea com
or call 1-800-387-1856 (416-867-9165 in Toronto).
Members Advantage Programme
Equity offers members in good standing a comprehensive benefits package
entitling them to discounts and benefits on a range of national and local
services. See our online “MAP” brochure for further information.
News concerning the administration and governance of the Association (e.g.
notice of upcoming meetings and information on membership benefits) is
now only electronically distributed to the membership.
Members who do not have access to the Internet must call the National
Office at 1-800-387-1856 (416-867-9165 in Toronto) to make alternative arrangements.
Publications Mail Agreement #40038615
Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to:
EQ
Canadian Actors’ Equity Association
44 Victoria Street, 12th Floor
Toronto, ON M5C 3C4
[email protected]
22 E quity Q uarterly
EQ is shipped in a biodegradable polybag
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