Time to get political

I try to stick to theatre and art in this blog, and its various inspirations. I can not do that right now. It is time to get overtly political. Time for some Canadian politics. Earlier this week, Alberta held an election for leadership of the province. As of the week-end, polls were showing the right-wing WildRose party in the lead, and the 40-year reign of the PCs in that province looked poised to fall.

As they sometimes do, the voters surprised everyone, and re-elected the PCs to a strong majority - 61 seats - while WildRose saw only 17. Canada breathed a sigh of comparative relief; bloggers and twitter lit up with otherwise left-leaning minds commenting how happy they were for a PC win, something you don't expect ever to hear.

So this morning, reading The Globe And Mail, I was made ill to read Ms Smith's latest.

Now that the WildRose were unsuccessful on their first attempt, they plan to change their policies. Okay, seems like a decent idea, right? Everything needs a fresh perspective after a loss. Sure. But Ms Smith campaigned on core beliefs including smaller government, ignoring climate change (well, arguing that it is still disputed scientifically...which amounts to ignoring it) and personal liberties. She had candidates making racist and homophobic comments in the media, never censured them. Now, upon losing, Ms Smith is thinking of "re-evaluating" their policy on climate change and other contentious issues. Pardon me, but re-evaluating? The party campaigned for several months on this right wing agenda, alienating the rest of the province. This is clearly something they believe heartily in. But a swift turn of the page to the day after losing the election, and Smith is ready to reconsider. Funny; a certain Mr Harper had similar right-wing views some years ago in Calgary. . . but he was deemed too extreme, and toned it down to get elected. Now that he is elected with a "mandate from the Canadian people" he is back to his right-wing tricks, dismantling the very institutions that define our country. Ms Smith appears to be taking a page out of Mr Harper's playbook.

Don't be fooled, Alberta. Ms Smith, it seems, will say whatever is required to get elected, and then do what she wanted all along. Please, have long memories on this one. Please.

Review: Saved by Edward Bond - Lyric Hammersmith

The stark bare stage greeted us. White background. The house was quite loud, but I could faintly hear some pre-show sound, which I was able to distinguish as that which was used later in the show between scenes. It sort of sounded like the reverb heard in your ears after a loud noise....or the sound movies use to show the impact of a very loud sound on our hearing, to create momentary deafness.

The stage was set mechanically between scenes, with all actors in full light bringing things out and placing them, almost as in a rehearsal. Also interesting was the fact that for nearly all scenes, a wall was brought down so that the scenes used only half the stage. The sense of claustrophobia in this was apparent...although it did sort of make me feel sad that there was so much wasted space.

Now the show itself....I've thought this through awhile. I think my feeling is that I liked the script and design, but not the direction. This play's core is about disengagement; that the overbearing and controlling nature of our day to day existence (particularly that of the poor or underclass) drives us to be de-sensitized to extremes, and specifically extreme violence. This was driven home by the disengagement of the audience from the play via the set and mechanical setup between scenes. But the characters didn't convey this. Rather, particularly Pam, but most characters played at a high pitch of anger throughout the play. This made it exceessively difficult for me to believe that their response to the stoning would be cold indifference. Given the level of anger at everything, I expected this to bubble over into a response against what happened....or at least a defense of it. But this didn't come.

I wanted to be shocked. I wanted to be made to think about the kind of person who could let this happen and not do or say anything. I even entertained the idea that nothing happens on purpose; that they very point is to make me mad. Maybe it was. But I am not sure I appreciated this. One must assume that if the playwright is doing a talk-back on the production, he condones the maybe it is just me.

here are some links to others' thoughts on the play: