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160 LEITERS IN CANADA 1980 David Gardner's affectionate tribute to Dora Mavor Moore makes an appropriate opening article not only because Gardner sets a standard for other contributors by presenting a wealth of material with elegance and economy,but because the lady in question embodied in her own career so much of the theatre she served. She was a hard-working, stubborn pioneer. Though the theatre she worked for was in large measure an import industry, she encouraged Canadian playwriting to a degree that will surprise those who assume that it all began in 1970. She died while Gardner's tribute was in preparation; and it is appropriate that the first issue of this journal should be, in a way, a memorial to her. For the rest, nineteenth-century material dominates- appropriately, as this is a peculiarly rich period for the theatre historian. The main interest for the non-specialist readeris in the sometimes quirky, sometimes highly revealing primary material, from which the authors quote generously. We read of Claire McDowell's appearance in Caste at the age offive months; of a spectacular and 'exact' representation of the death of Captain Cook, followed by 'a procession of the Natives to the MONUMENT OF CAPTAIN COOK With MILITARY HONOURS' (p 17 - not the same natives who killed him, one assumes); and we are treated to the Prize Address composed for the opening of Montreal's Theatre Royal in 1825, a prime candidate for any future edition of The Stuffed Owl: When golden commerce fraught with honest zeal, First over the Atlantic, urged her loaded Reel; And winds and waves, at length auspicious bore Her proofs of science to this Mountain's shore Where nature, lovely in her wildest vest, Beamed Emerald bright, within her water's breast ... (P 34) Most revealing is the recollection of an American circus performer who toured Canada around the beginning of the nineteenth century: The Canadian inhabitants thought our horses were supernatural, that it was impossible horses could dance and keep time to music ... we where [sic] the first equestrians that ever was in Canada, therefore the Canadians where [sic] ignorent [sic] of the science and thought the whole a conjuration' (p 12). The spiritual descendants of that performer, and of his audience, are still with us. (ALEXANDER LEGGATT) David Helwig, editor. Love and Money: The Politics ofCulture Oberon Press. 187. $15.95 cloth, $7.95 paper Despite the quality of some individual essays, this collection adds up to a disappointing grab-bag. Nothing better demonstrates this than the inclusion of an excerpt from John Metcalf's latest novel, General Ludd. HUMANITIES 161 Funny, trenchant, bang-on the chapter may be, but of what use remains something essentially a satire (and therefore quite properly devoid of the dull virtues ofbalance and practicality) in a collection offactual pieces? No one picking up the book needs to be told that all is not well with government support of the arts in this country. A collection of essays on the subject ought not only to inform the reader about details of the mess that might have escaped him, butalso offersome generally coherent notions of away out. In fact, an editorofsuch a collection of mostly new essays might even have attempted to establish links among the pieces, whether by exercising greater control over the choice of essays, 'heavier' editing and revision of the works themselves, or the interleaving of his own commentary throughout the collection. We do need coherent studies of government arts support, and its failings. The arts agencies suffer the budgetary squeeze endured by every educational and social agency. In addition, Treasury Board concepts of 'accountability' force an increasing bureaucratization of the granting process, while the Department of Communications throws its weight behind a concept of the 'arts industry' as simply another enterprise to be rationalized and turned into a profit-making venture. Especially in the performing arts, the tension remains between support ofever-expanding established companies in national centres and encouragement of groups fulfilling regional needs. Place these and many more difficulties within a nation whose tastes in films, TV, and music are largely shaped by American giants, and the prospects appear bleak indeed. No one...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 160-161
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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