Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Post Office closes Saturday

I've spent the last month performing on stage in Pleiades Theatre's production of Tagore's most famous play The Post Office.  A very Indian drama, performed by a multi-racial cast, enhanced by live music and a remarkable design, it's been humbling to have been part of it.

But also frustrating.  Frankly, the houses weren't what I'd hoped.  We've played to audiences of 20 and up to 100.  Or packed houses of school kids.

The adult audiences have a muted response to the play.

The best audience was a theatre full of 2nd graders, who hooted and clapped throughout this play - which is about death.

The biggest disappointment has been with the Indo-Canadian community who have not supported the play, despite it being by Tagore, the poet-laureate of India and with a production that included seasoned Indo-Canadian theatre, music, dance and costume artists.  It's frustrating to see empty seats because the production was a once in a life time opportunity to see a play never before performed professionally in Canada.  However, I have to say that the Indo-Canadian community has not been great supporters of the arts in Canada.  Sports, business, academe all have tremendous support from the community, but you don't see names of prominent Indo-Canadian philanthropists in theater programs or on the walls of museums.

In sharp contrast to the Indo-Canadian community, is the Jewish community whose numbers match ours, but whose influence and support of the arts exponentially dwarfs their actual size.  If the Jews could do it, why couldn't we?  Clearly, a lack of interest in the arts, at least in this country must be the cause.  Is it even worse?  Could the wealthy actually wonder what's in it for them before they support the arts?  And without an actual ROI, they're not interested?  I fear that's the case.

It's been a brave and noble experience performing in this play.  I feel we failed to reach the audience who needed and should have seen this play and if anyone knows what we did wrong, please let me know.

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