Award-winning Montreal-based magazine Maisonneuve has republished an essay on Newfoundland theatre by Governor General nominated playwright Robert Chafe. His essay, “Is Newfoundland Theatre Dead?” originally appeared in Riddle Fence, a publication of the Writers’ Alliance of Newfoundland and Labrador that I edited. To read the essay in its entirety, follow the link below.
Is Newfoundland Theatre Dead?
The Rock is a ‘powerhouse of comedic political satire’ too often ignored by the Toronto-centric press
By Robert Chafe
In the winter of 2007, Eleanor Wachtel hosted a special edition of CBC Radio’s Arts Tonight where she spoke to the two of most recent theatre critics for the Globe and Mail: Kate Taylor, who served from 1995 to 2003, and Kamal Al-Solaylee who took Taylor’s place. True to Globe tradition, most of Taylor and Al-Solaylee’s knowledge and experience centred on Toronto, with brief forays to Montreal, Calgary, and Vancouver. This being a discussion of theatre highlights during their tenure, the Stratford and Shaw Festivals were also heavily mentioned.
I wasn’t surprised that less than a minute was spent on Newfoundland (somewhat touched, actually, since four provinces went wholly unmentioned). What did surprise me was Taylor’s grand revelation that theatre artists in Newfoundland were all comedians and had wisely, she joked, moved into the more lucrative field of television. Theatre in Newfoundland, if one were to extrapolate from Taylor, was dead; a lifeless shell in the wake of Halifax having swooped in and stolen the talents of Codco and Mercer to fuel the nation’s hunger for comedy both intelligent and actually funny…
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For more information on Riddle Fence, see the website at: writersalliance.nf.ca/riddlefence.html