Responses to SLAV

Robert Lepage has issued a statement about SLĀV saying the cancellation is a “direct blow to artistic freedom.” The full statement, in both French and English, is on Facebook.

Journal commentator Denise Bombardier calls it censorship. The New York Times covers the story, quoting opinions from both sides.

In a tweet, Jaggi Singh simply calls the show racist.

I could spend hours collecting responses to the show and its closure, but although I don’t like confirming a prejudice, it seems on the whole that francophones disagree the show should have been cancelled and feel it to be an attack on freedom of expression – n.b. most of those links were from the Journal while Radio-Canada sought out a more varied reaction – while anglos feel the idea was at best mishandled and at worst, like Singh, an act of gross racism. There are exceptions: Marilou Craft on Urbania wrote a doubtful preview of the show as long ago as December, and another this week.

Lise Ravary, for her part, wrote that protesters at the show were Une jeunesse de gauche, surtout anglophone, inculte, ignorante, abreuvée de l’antiracisme radical ‘séparatiste’ né aux États-Unis où les conflits raciaux font partie du quotidien. But she isn’t racist, no no.

A capsule view of the two sides can be read on the Twitter hashtag #slavresistance.

This is my final post about SLĀV unless there’s some new story. But it’s been an unavoidable topic all week.

One update: A writer for Metro points out that Robert Lepage is working on a show called Kanata with the Cirque du Soleil in New York – big names, big location. It’s supposed to be about Canada’s relationship with its aboriginal people. The writer, a Cree, says that to the best of her knowledge Lepage has not consulted with any first nations nor are there actual aboriginal people in the cast.

Another update: J. Kelly Nestruck has a good piece in the Globe & Mail pointing out that this is not the first time Lepage has been accused of laziness in his approach to depicting other cultures.

And one more: someone has compiled a bibliography of responses in various media.

Sunday, Lise Ravary continues the theme that the Québécois aren’t racist and to suggest they can be is racist.