Friday, November 13, 2015

A Wake at the Abbey. Boycott the Gate?

It looked amazing at the Abbey yesterday, and yet , like plays that are recorded ..... you need to be there  to get the full effect. Thank you to the people who organized it and periscoped it.

I was thinking of the word Wake. Yesterday was billed under the magnificent banner of Wake The Feminists. But while I watched I thought of it in the terms of an irish wake. It was the celebration of someone (thing) who had lived a long life, too long really, and now it is time to bury him. So we had a lot of speeches about the corpse yesterday. Some were careful to announce that he had some good qualities , and it was appropriate in his house that he be spoken of with some respect. But we all knew this guy  was an asshole, really. He had treated all of the mourners with contempt for decades. And so when the women were waking him , they were celebrating their own empowerment.
But it is only a wake. The story goes that irish wakes are 2/3 days to make sure the corpse is dead. As happy as I was to witness yesterday. I want to see the funeral. I want to see him lowered into the ground ( or cremated, less fuss, and you can have glee tossing the ashes) . But it is important that he ( the history of exclusion) is buried. Then its time to get rid of his belongings, clear the house , get a fresh coat of paint on his moldy room and invite people over.  He wasn't a nice guy. And it needs to be done fast. Otherwise we are back in the same house and everything looks and feels the same.And remember the will seems to be saying that the deed will be handed over . Of course the will hasn't been read yet. Thats a problem.

I , along with the audience applauded Fiach for his speech yesterday. It was brave to sit there, he applauded everything that was said, although almost everything that was said was damning towards him and the institution. Thankfully there isn't a witch hunt. Because he has humbly admitted he was wrong. Very admirable and brave.
But Fiach needed a director and another speechwriter yesterday.
Fiach don't read a speech whose pertinent line was " I didn't look up" with your head buried in your notes. In fact don't read notes. All you needed was two friggin words. Spoken looking at this incredible gathering. You stand up. You Pause. You take a breath and say  ... "I'm sorry".
the ubiquitous forms of 12 step programs focus on the first step of admitting you have a problem. They then go on to suggest a house cleaning of "character defects" , which you have to look at first of course. But then these programs suggest you make an apology . When said apology is made you  ask the poor unfortunate who had to deal with your horrible behavior , is there anything that one can do to make things better.
Fiach is stuck on step one of admitting he has a problem. I heard nothing of his list of the Abbeys defects clearly spelled out. He did not issue an apology , and then told the victims of his ( Abbey's) behaviors what they would do to fix it. Errrr no. No . Thats not how it should work. Thats ridiculous. Cop on.
You say your sorry . You ask the 600 people in the room what they need to make it better. Don't rant on about boards and shit ! they are sitting around you !!!! "Im sorry, and I'll be in the office for the next month asking you how can I fix it for YOU ".
Made me angry, not at Fiach , because he is a really good person . But we all have to Wake up.
Does the Gate theatre actually exist in Dublin? Does it have some kind of diplomatic immunity ? Is it the embassy of some foreign tyrant? Is it time to boycott it?

Mr Colgan wasn't there yesterday. ( although I believe the Gate  was represented) Mr Colgan has said nothing on this debate. That I have seen, perhaps I'm wrong. Nobody from his staff have said anything that I can see. Their silence speaks volumes. Mr Colgan is the brilliant producer of Beckett and Pinter  but his admiration of silence and a pause regarding WTF is alarming even by their standards.  Mr Colgan , by his silence has reaffirmed the status of his theatre company regarding women. Given the nonexistent female voices in that ivory tower at the end of O'Connell st. , what can one assume other than his total disregard for female voices. Even now, when it is the loudest shout in the history of irish theatre.
 Mark my words , when he does speak he will say he was giving space for the WTF to be heard. It was about the Abbey specifically yada yada.
Unless these two men  ( Abbey / Gate ) announce  immediate  new programming change , the corpse will not have been buried. The wake will continue . And if the wake continues, a boycott of the two main Theatres in Dublin should be called for. No more putting it on the long finger. There's talk of committees already !!!!!!!
 I have no idea what Garry Hynes will do. The first woman ever to win a Tony for directing, and she built  that with the help of her female friend from a sleepy fishing town in the West of Ireland! Two kids still in college . They are extraordinary examples of strong female practitioners. Not just in Ireland but world wide. But even she has  risen her hand to say Druid should be looked at too. And it should be. We all need to look at ourselves.
But particularly us men.
Watching the Estrogen Rising yesterday I had this one funny thought. Imagine if this was men. What type of discourse would be happening if we were the excluded. How quick would we be demanding change to happen?
And lastly ....... would men rally with this passion, enthusiasm and dignity to enter a profession that would surely condemn us to a level of poverty. That to me is the truly beautiful thing about these incredible female voices. Its a fight to be heard, nothing about money. In what seems like decades of men roaring about Celtic Tigers and then Austerity. Woman are stepping forward to just say, "listen". "Stop." "There another way." How beautifully refreshing.