Not exactly a full Foofarah, but it IS a Monday. So before we get to the thing I got to get to, let’s take a look at…
STUFF IN THEATRES THIS WEEK!
GODSPELL at Centrepointe Theatre from Ninth Hour! HOW BLACK MOTHERS SAY I LOVE YOU at the GCTC! A NIGHT IN NOVEMBER at the Gladstone, from Pierre Brault! GREASE at Centrepointe Theatre from Orpheus Musical Theatre! SOUFFLER LA VEILLEUSE at La Nouvelle Scene from Theatre de la Vielle 17! THE ELEPHANT MAN at Glebe St.James United Church from Sock’n’Buskin! Woohoo!
Also a pleasant reminder that my full listing (or as full as I have figured it so far) of Theatre stuffs in Ottawa for March can be found here. Just updated with a new Ottawa U show CARAVAN OF ILLUSION! Ooooo…Always jazzed for a new student show. They make me happy. But in less overtly happy news…
WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT IRIS. Oh sweet shitting Jesus, do we really?? And I was having such a nice time! Dramatic sigh. Fine. But First off, let’s deal with names. Winston, as you all may or may not know, was the beloved housecat here at the Visitorium, my pal, my roommate, and theatre kitty extraordinaire. And while he is currently vacationing in Valhalla, I know he wouldn’t care for his name to be associated with a gruesome incident like this. So henceforth, the perpetrator shall be referred to by the tasteful pseudonym of Iris Pazzuzlefacebar. Or something similar, probably.
Anyways, Iris Peanuthamster is one of the illustrious…oh, let’s call them ‘writers’…for that halcyon Ottawa institution the Capital Critics Circle*. I’ve never been a fan, I can unsurprisingly admit. I mean, okay, back in the day they came across mostly as just stuffy, pretentious old-guard types…They were kind of boring and they’d most likely spell your name wrong, but at least they were fairly predictable. And then came the Jamie Portman incident a few Fringes back (almost charming in retrospect), and people started to eye them a little more askew than usual. And then, and THEN, this past week, on the day after International Women’s Day (because timing is everything in comedy) Iris Pitmonsterfuzzywuzzy penned an op-ed that was published in the Ottawa. Goddamn. Citizen. An op-ed bemoaning the #MeToo movement as the whiny caprice of a bunch of entitled princesses, and using the phrase ‘haven’t they ever heard of the casting couch?’ completely unironically, as if it were the accepted standard of casting agents and not a monstrous abuse of power. It was an interesting read, in the same sense that eating a gallon of hot tar would be an interesting dining experience. I shan’t link to it here, but by all means, google it to your hearts content. I draw special attention to the one-note alt-right guy trolling the comments section, accusing anyone who disagreed with the article of being an anti-free speech FASCIST! It may not be art, but it made ME laugh.
Now, I’m not going to launch into a full-on tirade against Iris Pippledipple or even a trashing of her article…other, smarter types than me, including the great Catriona Leger and Nadine Thornhill, have already done so far better than I ever could. Or even the CCC itself, because at this point in history they’ve all but doused themselves with gasoline and lit a match. Far be it from me to do anything but sit politely and toast a marshmallow or two.
I’ve responded to negativity with more negativity of late, and it only goes so far. I really want to hit this latest blast of negativity with some positive vibes instead. I’m here to talk not about Iris, but inspiration. Because this has inspired me, it really has. With the disintegration and humiliation of the CCC, the disappearance of most arts coverage from the local papers (seems they have other publishing priorities, mostly in the fast-growing field of victim-blaming), and the diminution of other sources, the Ottawa theatre review scene is starker than I can remember. Theatre companies are being reduced to cruising Twitter for any positive mention to flout as a pull quote. It’s a bit of a mess, really. This is Canada’s capitol??
So…I’ve got some free time, theatrically, these days. Something about a show or two being cancelled, blah blah blah, who can even remember? Didn’t get picked in Fringe, no BYOV, still no callback from that big audition a while back (WHY DON’T PEOPLE LOVE ME????)…but hey, I’ve still got a blog..! And so, while I’m not backing away from my acting and creating pursuits…many things in the planning and writing stages for the future, oh yes, and there will hopefully be blogposts on those subjects coming as well…it might be time to go a little old-guard myself. So I’m happy to announce (and this is less of a boast or brag than a public declaration so that I can’t go back on it) that I’ll be jumping back in, at least for the next few months, doing some posting, promoting, reviewing even, just like the ‘good old days’.
And, if Pat Gauthier and the gang will have me back, then (gulp) this June I’m going ALL IN on Ottawa Fringe with a right proper, old-fashioned Fringe-Coma. Oh yes! Late nights, early mornings, drunken reviews, the whole magilla! Hell, maybe I’ll even take a wild stab at assembling a new Team Visitorium..! Because I want to take positive action for once in the face of negativity. Because I am sick to goddamned death of NOT seeing the artists and theatre I love so much get praised and hyped like they deserve. And mostly because I want to see if I still remember how to do it. I kinda hope not. I’d rather make it up as I go.
See you around, Ottawa, I’ll be somewhere in the cheap seats sooner than you think. And Iris…thanks again for the inspiration. Now go away. Peace, love and soul,
Kevin R (and the ghost of Winston)
* Just before I posted this, it must be noted that CCC (and former Charlebois Post) writer Jim Murchison formally resigned from the CCC, citing the Iris Pimpleheimer article as his impetus. Good on ya, Jim, and if you ever want a review posted, my blogspace is always available!