There's a theatre festival in Toronto this week called Summerworks. Summerworks has received $35,000 in federal funding. Yes, it's a huge financial commitment. 1 of the 42 one-act plays in the Summerworks festival, however, is receiving the official PMO two thumbs down. This one:
"Homegrown", according to Summerworks, is about "a Toronto lawyer/writer [who] meets a prisoner accused of homegrown terrorism in 2008. She continues to visit him over the next year and a half, and becomes obsessed with separating fact from hype in the face of the uncertainty, delays and secrecy in his case." Summerworks is promoting it as "a true story." The prisoner in the play is modeled on Shareef Abdelhaleem , one of the so-called Toronto 18, which plotted to blow up the heart of Canada's biggest city. Abdelhaleem is in jail awaiting sentencing after being convicted in January for his role in plotting to plant the bombs.You know, maybe the PMO could allocate some of its ever-expanding communications department to the task of vetting scripts before federal funding is approved. Just so they could be absolutely sure, in the future, that the viewing content at such federally funded festivals will be suitable, in their father knows best view of course, for the Canadian public. Then we, the impressionable, could be spared the challenges that such art might visit upon our little peanut brains.
"We are extremely disappointed that public money is being used to fund plays that glorify terrorism. Had the plot hatched by the Toronto 18 succeeded, thousands of innocent Canadians would have died," said Andrew MacDougall, a spokesman for Harper.
It's August but suddenly very chilly out there today on the free expression in the arts front.