Performing Arts

Showing 1-8 of 994 books
Sort by:
View Mode:
Beyond Walls

Beyond Walls

Theatre Passe Muraille 1968-1975
edition:Paperback
More Info
Excerpt

On Wednesday, March 5th, 1969, the day the Theatre Passe Muraille production of Futz was scheduled to open, producer William (Bill) Marshall challenged his city, 'We want to see what you can put on in Toronto.' The Toronto Star printed an arousing article, 'Futz brings nudity, bestiality to Toronto stage'. The Toronto Police showed little interest: 'If all it's got to show is a couple of bare mammary glands,' declared a spokesman, 'I don't think we'd even bother with it.' Marshall's producing partners, lawyers Miles O'Reilly and Arthur Pennington, invited crown counsel Peter Rickaby to the opening night. Rickaby was both the complainant and prosecutor in the 1965 obscenity conviction of art gallery owner Dorothy Cameron, still a scandal in Toronto. At the Central Library Theatre, a Toronto Police morality squad plainclothes officer asked Rickaby if, in his opinion, obscenity charges should be laid. 'It would be laughed out of court,' Rickaby told him.

Hours before the opening, the Futz company stage manager telephoned his actors with a warning that the police might charge them right after the performance. To avoid running into any law officers after the opening, the actors made their exit via the theatre fire escape. On Thursday, March 6, after the second night's performance, the Toronto Police preferred charges of 'staging an indecent performance' and the following day legal summonses were issued to the director, Jim Garrard, the three producers, the actors, the stage crew, and even the Central Library's teenage coatroom attendant.

As the play's scheduled three-week run proceeded, new summonses were issued to everyone after each night's presentation, each performance constituting a new offence under the law. The daily legal ceremony was covered by press and television, a major media event. Publicity put ticket sales through the roof. The producers scheduled additional performances and invited the surprised American playwright, Rochelle Owens, to Toronto for interviews. Her rather 'Manhattan' comment was, 'This couldn't happen in New York. All this prurient sex. It's very corny.' Torontonians who weren't offended by 'an indecent performance', as the warrants read, or by the denial of free speech, were unhappy with the rather provincial character of the entire affair. The Toronto Telegram commented, 'The press, the police, and those responsible for the production have this much in common: they have all become excited by a trace of smut.'

[Continued in 'Chapter One, Busted: Theatre Passe Muraille at Rochdale'... ]

close this panel
Becoming Centaur

Becoming Centaur

Eighteenth-Century Masculinity and English Horsemanship
edition:Paperback
also available: Hardcover
More Info
Show editions
X
Contacting facebook
Please wait...