Toronto Star's lead critic Richard Ouzounian, in his year-end wrap up of Ontario theatre, takes to task the Can Stage company and its Artistic Director Martin Bragg. Turns out their weaseling out of "Rachel Corrie" is just part of a bigger pattern artistic timidity and lameness.
Ouzounian contrasts the "respectable" CanStage with the more adventurous upstart Soulpepper (who I've written about before, here).
It's not coincidental that three of the shows on this year's Top 10 list came from Soulpepper. And even when this company fails, they do so with ambition and distinction. Schultz and his company are building for the future and their Conservatory, established this year as well, only goes to prove that.
In the other corner, however, sporting a black hat and twirling a metaphorical moustache, is CanStage's Martin Bragg.
In 2006, his company produced 10 shows and not one of them could be called a true success, either critically or popularly.
CanStage's productions are usually presented with enough surface polish so that they avoid being really awful (although Hair was an exception), but what they've been lacking recently is any sense of the reason why they're being done. If ever an organization needed a mission statement, it's this one.
Bragg's recent decision to cancel My Name Is Rachel Corrie, supposedly in the face of board pressure, is just one more indication of the muddied artistic thinking that is plaguing this theatre and needs to be remedied as soon as possible.