Andrew Snowdon

Archive for the ‘Ottawa’ Category

Postmedia Style Guide

In advice, Canada, media, Ottawa on Tuesday 19 January 2016 at 23:59

[TRIGGER WARNING: I don’t even know how to do one of these, but in this post I use language related to sexual violence and gender identity that may offend or trigger some people.  I have made the conscious, considered decision to do so to further my point, not merely for “comedic” effect.]

As you have no doubt already heard, Postmedia, having purchased SUN Media some time ago, has taken the not entirely unexpected step of merging newsrooms in several cities where it operates more than one print daily. We saw this coming when they moved, for example, the Ottawa SUN into the same building as the Ottawa Citizen (or maybe we saw it coming when the internet rendered print media all but obsolete?). Instead of folding papers, Postmedia has assured us that the same stories will just be re-edited for the respective audiences of the respective papers, saving an immense amount of money.  I am sure someone somewhere has prepared a spreadsheet showing how much money is saved cutting people (still the only resource that can produce content) but not, you know, ceasing to print tons of paper editions that are good for a day before they go straight into the recycling, garbage, or bird cage.  I am also sure this person prepared it on parchment with a quill pen.

I’m not sure, however, that there are enough people left at Postmedia to put together a style guide that will help their remaining editor(s?) gear generically-written articles to each of the three audiences they must address.  So I thought I’d take some of the pressure off!  Here are some common terms and phrases and how they should be modified to reach SUN readers, Citizen (or whatever the not-SUN paper is in any given city; as Paul Godfrey would probably tell you, all newspapers are pretty much the same anyways) readers, and National Post readers.


Term Citizen, etc. SUN National Post
Mayor of Toronto Mayor John Tory ex-CIBC bigwig John “Sorry” Tory Mayor John Tory, but if it’s a slow news day go with Mayor Rob Ford
Mayor of Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi Naveed, Benji recast article so it is about Toronto
Mayor of Ottawa Mayor Jim Waterson Jimbo recast article so it is about Toronto
Mayor of Montréal Mayor Denis Coderre how do you do that little hat thing over the e? anyway, uh, Derriere I guess seriously, next you’re going to want to write about Vancouver
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Justin Trudeau Justy, That Upstart recast the article so it is about Sophie Grégoire
Former Prime Minister Stephen Harper Harper The Once And Future King Harper
Thomas Mulcair Tom Mulcair more like Tom MulDON’Tcare yeah, where is that guy? Curling in Montebello?
Former Senator Patrick Brazeau Senator Brazeau The Brazzer nice try, killing this
President Barack Obama President Obama President Osama President Obama
Donald Trump Donald Trump The Donald Former Mayor Rob Ford
The Arts The Arts? you mean the SUNshine Girl? you mean the Mirvish insert?
statutory rape sexual assault of a minor tryst on first reference, regular everyday sex on subsequent references sexual assault of a minor, but bury it as far as you can
rape sexual assault it’s really a tough call, so ask the guy what he called it bury it and set it in Dingbats
gay gay homo, deviant, prevert, not that there’s anything wrong with that oh honey, we know
transgender person transgender person? I think? tranny, unless the article is close to the automotive section, in which case he-she transgender person, I think, but just in case, bury it
The Ottawa Senators The Ottawa Senators The Sens can you not read red pen? and we don’t even have a sports section anymore. You’re fired.

 

Advertisements

On Grisly Humour

In crime, humour, Ottawa on Wednesday 30 May 2012 at 8:55

So somebody sent a human foot through the mail to the Conservative Party of Canada’s headquarters on Albert Street in Ottawa, and police later found a human hand still in transit in the postal system.  Montréal police found a torso.

While investigators gear up to play a grisly game of Sesame Street Mix and Match, Twitter and certain sectors of the print media have taken to rather macabre humour.  Most of it consists of puns, and I wish someone had taken the trouble to Storify it (or hope that someone has?).  Because it’s fascinating.

But is it funny?  There’s a foot and a hand and they came from someone.  They didn’t grow in a vat.  Someone is likely (at this writing) dead, or at least maimed, and that can’t possibly be funny, can it?

Well, it certainly seems to be, to some people.  Or at least it’s fuel for comedy.  But for how long?  How far is too far?*  Leaving aside the hocus-pocus of “coping mechanisms” and such efforts to analyze, and thereby desiccate, human glee and mirth, when does the ha-ha run out?

I found this gem excerpted from J. Berg Esenwein’s Writing for the Magazines, in Writing for the Photoplay, which he co-wrote with Arthur Leeds.  I think it is germane to the discussion:

“Good sense is at once the basis of and the limit to all humor. He who lacks a fine perception of ‘the difference between what things are and what they ought to be,’ as the always-to-be-quoted Hazlitt expressed it, can never write humor. All the way through we shall find that mirth is a matter of relationships, of shift, of rigidity trying to be flexible, of something shocked into something else.

“Let us think of a circle on which four points have been marked:

circle diagram

“Beginning with a serious idea, we may swiftly step from point to point until we return to the serious, with only slight variations from the original conception. Take the perennial comedy-theme of the impish collar, and visualize the scenes:

“1. A man starts to button his collar. Nothing is less comical, as long as the operation proceeds normally.

“2. But the button is too large and his efforts begin to exasperate him, with the result that his expression and movements become incongruous. We see, and laugh—though he does not.

“3. He begins to hop around in a mad attempt to button the unbuttonable, and soon rips off the collar, addressing it in unparliamentary language. He is ludicrous, ridiculous, absurd.

“4. In his rage he violently kicks a pet dog that comes wagging up to him. Our laughter subsides, for the fellow is more contemptible than amusing—a deeper feeling has been born in us.

“5. The little dog limps off with a broken leg—we are no longer amused, we are indignant. What is more, not only have we gotten back to the serious, but there is no amusement left in any of the previous scenes.

“Still applying the test of the extent of the variation from the normal as shown in the effects, we conclude that serious consequences kill humor. The mere idea of such consequences, when we know that in the circumstances they are really impossible, may convulse us with merriment, as when we see a comedian jab a long finger into the mouth of his teammate and the latter chews it savagely. In real life this might sicken us with disgust—I say ‘might,’ because we can easily conceive of such a situation’s exciting laughter if the victim were well deserving of the punishment. It is human for us to laugh when the biter is bit; indeed, variations on this theme are endless in humorous writing.

Sympathy also kills humor. The moment we begin to pity the victim of a joke—for humor has much to do with victims—our laughter dies away. Therefore the subject of the joke must not be one for whose distress we feel strong sympathy. The thing that happens to a fop is quite different in effect from that which affects a sweet old lady. True, we often laugh at those—or at those ideas—with whom or with which we are in sympathy, but in such an instance the ludicrous for the moment overwhelms our sympathy—and sometimes even destroys it.”

(Ha ha, those poor fops.  They certainly got the short end of the stick at the beginning of the twentieth century.)

Given the dual tests of “serious consequences” and “sympathy,” I would advance that no capacity for humour remains once we know whose parts they are.

Or was it never funny in the first place because the parts had always belonged to someone?

What do you think?


* Measured in feet, of course. And this is a footnote.

The Tao of Theatre: SubDevision and The Extremely Short Play Festival

In art, Ottawa, theatre on Friday 11 May 2012 at 13:40

So tonight I’m going to see King Lear at the NAC. I’m pretty excited; ever since the season launch when it was announced, it’s been on my mind. I want to see it; I want to see what transposing it to an Aboriginal context adds to (or takes away from) this timeless classic.

But I don’t think it’s the most exciting thing going on theatrically in Ottawa right now.

Actually, there isn’t a most exciting thing going on theatrically in Ottawa right now.

There are two.

Taoists will be unsurprised.


Another show I was waiting for since it was announced was New Theatre of Ottawa‘s Extremely Short Play Festival. It’s hard not to get excited about something when (NTO artistic director) John Koensgen is talking about it; his eyes genuinely light up whenever he talks about a project he believes in. I even briefly considered submitting an extremely short play (defined here as under ten minutes in length) myself; I quickly discovered what a challenge the short form really is when you’re not just writing a one-gag sketch. I wondered what level of quality the submissions would have.

Now, I didn’t get out to see this until the second week, which I sort of regret since it far exceeded my expectations both as to the quality of the writing and the quality of the production itself. There were plays from known A-list playwrights like Pierre Brault and Lawrence Aronovitch (whose Late made me both glad I had abandoned one particular piece I was working on and eager to pick it up and rework it), as well as those known primarily for other genres of writing or acting, Dan O’Meara (yes, of Ottawa’s celebrated Manx Pub) and Geoff McBride, and emerging writers (Jessica E. Anderson, Kelley Tish Baker, Andrea Connell, Adam Pierre, Tina Prud’homme and Kevin and James Smith) with considerable potential. Then, the actors interpreting the work were top-notch: Kristina Watt’s effortless versatility, Brian Stewart’s arresting stage presence, Kate Hurman’s comic grace, and Adam Pierre’s freshness and energy infused the characters and situations with life. I was impressed with the lighting, the sound, and John Koensgen’s direction. I was also glad that on the soggy, stormy night on which I went, the house was well over half-full.

So there is hope for traditional playwriting; there are established writers who continually turn out interesting work, there’s a wave of new writers cutting their teeth, and Ottawa is the place they all come home.

Then, there’s the other kind of theatre: that writ not in a chair, but wrought from thin air.


Just down the street (Daly Avenue) from NTO’s home at Arts Court Theatre is a church at the corner of Cumberland that Ottawa theatre faithful will recognize as Mi Casa Theatre’s near-regular off-the-beaten-track venue, St. Paul’s Eastern United Church.

Usually Mi Casa rents out the basement, and puts on a show or throws a party (the distinction is debatable). This time, not only Mi Casa but seven other theatre companies are spread throughout the church—the basement, yes, but also the kitchen, the wheelchair elevator, the sanctuary chapel with its majestic pipe organ and towering stained-glass windows that face the setting sun, and a few nooks and crannies besides.

The event is called subDevision. It’s a crime that tickets are only $20, and a sheer act of treason that it’s only on for three nights, one of which is now in the past.

SubDevision is not a typo, but a clever portmanteau: the venue is subdivided into multiple performance areas, and the works are all devised works, created collaboratively within and inspired by the space. The event itself was inspired by Vancouver’s HiVE co-creation space, and its genesis took place in the same fertile ground that gave us the undercurrents Festival two years ago: a Backyard BBQ attended by the Ottawa theatre community’s core creative elite.

Site-specific devised theatre isn’t an entirely foreign concept to Ottawa, although so far it’s been on a smaller scale. Six: At Home, for example, was wildly successful at the 2010 Ottawa Fringe Festival, despite being located at Laurier House—a long, hot summer’s trek away from the main venues. It’s no surprise that several of the performer/creators who were involved in that production are also members of companies taking part in subDevision.

From a logistical perspective (i.e. how to see which show when) subDevision is a bit confusing at first glance. The performers seem to have been given pretty much free rein with their timing, so not everything fits neatly into a schedule grid. Some shows take eight minutes, some take thirteen, some take twenty, one takes eleven, but they let one person in every eight minutes—and then things start selling out. Then, of the two shows in the sanctuary, one is only before dark and the other only afterward. So there’s a little arithmetic and planning involved; even more than at the Fringe, and with greater urgency.

Attendees can pick and choose performances, and there’s an incredible variety on offer. From women in slips adoring the sun from atop church pews, to a multilingual acrobatic wake, to intimate cocktails in an elevator, to revolutionary yoga, to physically philosophical comedy on the steps outside… the whole defies description (rather, I don’t want to give any of it away) and must be experienced. [Visitorium has done us all the favour of staying up until three in the morning to write his useful take on subDevision. Give it a go.]

There is some overlap between the performance spaces, giving a dreamlike quality to the experience: as you are led up a staircase by a robed figure holding a lantern, you are implored by performers splayed on the steps to join the party in the other room. At times, however, sounds from an adjacent performance intrude on the one you are in (the Bluesfest effect).

When I spoke with the organizers last week, they mentioned with pride the skill-sharing sessions that have been a part of the subDevision creative process, where the members of the different companies share their methods and tactics for overcoming blocks in collaborative creation. There’s definitely been some creative cross-pollination as a result; I noticed May Can Theatre, perhaps unwittingly, use a technique that I recognized from both The Missoula Oblongata’s The Daughter of the Father of Time Motion Study and Mi Casa Theatre’s Live from the Belly of a Whale. I don’t think it goes as far as being derivative, and it’s not a cliché—yet. It does serve to highlight the way in which a particular aesthetic or set of techniques develops organically in such an environment.

Analysis aside, it’s a bloody party.


There are, as always, theatre productions going on—there’s Lear, and there’s Death and the Maiden at the Gladstone Theatre, and next week the Great Canadian Theatre Company will wrap up its season with Circle Mirror Transformation. There are others. They’re each a worthwhile night out. And none of them would exist without some combination of the two kinds of creative process showcased by the Extremely Short Play Festival and subDevision.

Anyway, you don’t have much time left to see them, and you ought to. Theatre, like life itself, is evanescent. The best and most satisfying art often has the shortest shelf life of all.

Vignette: Smoke and Mirrors

In Ottawa on Saturday 3 September 2011 at 22:29

There appears to be an anomaly in the City of Ottawa’s anti-smoking by-laws.

Last week, the Ottawa Public Health Twitter account posted a link to information about the health risks of shisha.  As shisha (also known by a whole lot of other names) is basically molasses-soaked tobacco smoked through a communal water-pipe (known sometimes as a hookah), this is no surprise.  It is accepted wisdom that smoke inhalation carries with it certain inherent health risks.

Smoking in public places, such as shopping malls, has been banned in Ottawa since about 1995.  It’s been against the by-laws to smoke in bars and restaurants for a few years now; I think the last over-21 cigar lounge closed shop a few years ago (to be replaced with Yet Another Uns-Uns Bar).  Smoking is still permitted on unenclosed patios, but that’s being gradually phased out too.  You can’t smoke within spitting distance of a bus stop, a government building entrance (which could be anywhere in Ottawa), or a healthcare facility.  Within the year, it’ll be illegal in public parks as well.

In short, in Ottawa smoking—let alone smoking indoors—is officially frowned upon.

You may imagine my surprise, then, when I first visited Garlic Corner (at the corner of York and Dalhousie in Ottawa’s historic Byward Market) and found that, in addition to being licensed, this shawarma spot offered free shisha to its customers.  They just bring out a big ol’ hookah, put it on your table, light your choice of flavoured shisha, and you and your friends sit there puffing away on the damn thing.  It’s not a secret—in fact the large, full-colour sign advertising this free perk is as prominent as their sign advertising vegan breakfast.  (I used to live two blocks away.  I still don’t think I went there often enough.)

I had visions of sitting in the place, enjoying a Large (because their Really Large is actually Ridiculously Huge) falafel sandwich, when all of a sudden a team of by-law officers bursts in through the windows, wrestles a table of short-short–wearing Lebanese girls to the ground, and fines everyone for Conspiracy to Smoke Tobacco Indoors.

I figured it was only a matter of time.

On Saturday, my friend Jean-Pierre and I were kicking around in the downtown heat, looking for refreshment.  At my urging, we bypassed Dunn’s Deli in favour of Garlic Corner.  While he bought himself an iced tea and got us a seat with a view, I got in line to order a sandwich.

Behind two by-law officers.

Probably these gentlemen got the impression I thought they were cute, the way I kept sneaking sideways glances at them.  I was dimly aware that outside on the (enclosed) patio, a couple was smoking cigarettes at their table.  At any moment one of the officers would notice, and the other one would turn around and see the sign offering Free Flagrant Flaunting of Ottawa’s Anti-Smoking By-Laws.  Great, I thought, I’m not going to get my falafel sandwich because they’re going to shut the place down.  One of the officers leaned in closer to his partner.

“They have shots,” he said, pointing at a sign advertising the availability of cheap, colourful shooters in what looked like test tubes on a desert island.  The guy behind the counter was slicing off chicken for their sandwiches.

“Hey,” the other officer asked, “has your beer always been this cheap?”  He pointed at another sign.  “How do the bars around here compete?”  I looked directly at them, and I’m sure my mouth was open.

“We probably shouldn’t have one,” said the first officer.  I was about to say no, you’re in uniform, when my eyes re-focused on the table between and behind the officers, where the waitress had just set down a hookah for a couple.

Here we go, I thought, the moment of truth.

Then: I’m not going to get my bloody sandwich.

However, the two by-law officers did not appear interested in the slightest.  There’s no way they could have missed the shisha—on the table, the whole contraption comes up to about eye-level, oh and it emits smoke.  But there wasn’t even a raised eyebrow.  They simply paid for their sandwiches and left.

So.

Either there’s a loophole in the by-law you could blow smoke rings through (which, as an inveterate pipe smoker and proponent of civil disobedience, fills me with hopeful optimism) or these guys are rather openly on the take.

I suppose I’ll have to read through the by-laws to find out.

In the meantime, I shall continue to enjoy the anomaly.

Ottawa–Toronto, one-way, non-refundable

In Ottawa on Thursday 17 March 2011 at 7:30

For her poets and writers are apt to be drawn thither, for the better companionship there and the higher rate of pay. —Rupert Brooke, Letters from America


Emma Godmere is leaving Ottawa, and I can’t say I blame her.

Anywhere two rivers meet, a city will be built. So it is that, at the junction of the Rideau and Ottawa rivers, we find the City of Ottawa, capital of Canada, and its conjoined twin Gatineau.

Ottawa became the capital of Canada simply because of its relatively remote location—not, as the tongue-in-cheek myth goes, because Queen Victoria, in one of her many efforts to amuse herself, closed her eyes and pinned the donkey’s tail here on the map. At the time a logging town, it was subsequently connected to the important military port of Kingston by a canal. Accessible, but safely out of the way.

The city is a lot smaller than municipal amalgamation makes it look on paper. It’s spread out, and without a reliable transit system to link its bedroom communities to its core, much less cohesive than the Katamari Toronto that threatens to absorb Hamilton (if it has not already done so). To make matters worse, Ottawa is barely habitable, or at least inhospitable, due to its wide range of temperature, and high-humidity valley microclimate.

Whenever I hear or read of someone comparing Ottawa to ten-times-bigger Toronto, as I bite my tongue, I recall Rupert Brooke’s Letters from America, written in 1913. Brooke, who died only two years later from an infected mosquito bite whilst serving in World War I, was an educated upper-class young man who took a trip through America—including New York, New England, and much of Canada—and wrote a series of letters detailing his observations to the Winchester Gazette in England. His travel diary thus published is of a style somewhere between a modern travel blog and Jack Kerouac’s On The Road, if it were written by Oscar Wilde.

Letters from America is unlikely to find its way into schools, even Canadian ones, due to Brooke’s (appropriate for his time and social class) cheery, unabashed racism (including the chapter blithely titled “Some N—rs”). We are much the less for this, as he has set down the clearest cultural description of each of our major cities, among them Montréal, Ottawa, Toronto, and Winnipeg.

Then, as now, “… there is an atmosphere of Civil Servants about Ottawa, an atmosphere of safeness and honour and massive buildings and well-shaded walks.”

Whereas, “Toronto, soul of Canada, is wealthy, busy, commercial, Scotch, absorbent of whisky; but she is duly aware of other things. She has a most modern and efficient interest in education; and here are gathered what faint, faint beginnings or premonitions of such things as Art Canada can boast (except the French-Canadians, who, it is complained, produce disproportionately much literature, and waste their time on their own unprofitable songs).”

Is there any wonder that Ottawa suffers so, culturally? It is like a little flower planted late in the season between two huge trees (Toronto and Montréal) whose vast canopy of leaves blocks the sunlight and whose thirsty, spreading roots draw all the water and nutrients from the soil.

If our creators are leaving for another city (I don’t count Nancy Kenny, who lives and works in a Littlest Hobo eigenstate between Toronto and Ottawa) with its established audiences, what about our Ottawa audiences? I don’t, by the way, think it’s fair to blame Ottawa audiences; we should be taking the non-audiences to task instead.

Here is the thing: Ottawa’s economy is composed (mostly) of government, universities, and a technology sector. Each of these attracts people (workers and students) from outside of the city. A significant portion of the middle-class population, therefore, has no particular roots in Ottawa.

This is not a question of immigration. Immigration, as in Toronto and Montréal, serves rather to catalyze cultural evolution. Ottawa’s nascent live spoken word community, for example, is at least 50% driven by first- or second-generation immigrants.

The Ottawa middle class is culpably resistant to the changes required to develop this city into a metropolis capable of sustaining a local culture. If we want to be urban, we must build buildings; we can’t chisel out Manotick-like villages in the middle of it all. The trade-off has always been, and should remain: if you want to live surrounded by limitless greenspace, commute from the country. The people that can afford and do appreciate cultural enrichment can also afford to travel to Toronto or Montréal to get it, and they are guaranteed an ample, competitive supply.

If any environment is culturally and economically inhospitable, the most promising twentysomething minds will leave it for one that is—thereby decreasing the rate at which local cultural offerings will be improved to the point that they impress people into becoming new audiences.

I’m not convinced, either, that the same folks who have been running the show for decades have earth-shattering “new ideas” that will coax the public from their suburban bunkers. I’d love to be proven wrong, but I’ll keep my cow until I see the beanstalk.

Emma Godmere’s imminent departure (JUST when I was getting used to seeing her on stage) is good for her, but also a symptom of the underlying syndrome. We lose our best and brightest to our neighbours, whether due to talent, ambition, or a healthy synergy of both.

And who could blame them for leaving?


The quote preceding this post, by the way, refers to artists at the time leaving Toronto for the States. So there is hope that we can overcome our disadvantage of proximity in due time.

Quality versus Popularity

In art, Ottawa, theatre on Wednesday 9 March 2011 at 17:57

Thanks in part, I’m sure, to craptastic weather conditions in Ottawa over the weekend, a spirited discussion of the nature of theatre, audiences, marketing, and economics erupted on Twitter early Saturday morning and continued well into Sunday (when we finally decided on the #OThChat hashtag to dispense with the immense block of @s and keep things “organized”). I hope it continues to continue.

The discussion touched briefly upon a fact which, although it seems self-evident, frustrates the hell out of people who make a living (or aim to) out of creating art: quality and popularity are independent quantities. In other words, just because it’s “good” doesn’t mean it will sell.

Quality and popularity are independent quantities.

There is a fair amount of subjectivity involved in the assessment of quality, to start with. I’m of the opinion that aesthetic value, like any physical measurement or other perception, depends on the observer, that which is observed, and the act of observation. These things are variable. But there is such a thing as technique, and even if it cannot be objectively measured, some value can be established by consensus. We all agree, I hope, that an actor standing two feet to the left of his mark (and well out of his light) is bad quality—the craft is lacking.

Popularity, on the other hand, can be measured by attendance or box office revenue with a fair degree of accuracy. If a show sells out, it is popular; if there are blocks of empty seats, it is unpopular. It’s not that it rained or that there was no parking; unless you kept your show a secret, it’s unpopular, by definition. (Could it have been made popular? Very possibly. But that’s not what we’re talking about right now.)

Here’s where it falls apart: something can be very good, very well-done, yet be unpopular. This is less of a problem in the “durable” arts (the plastic arts, literature, recorded music—anything you can put in a box and save for later) than the performance arts, since tastes may change over the years and decades (unfortunately the creator often dies first).

If the critics are doing their job, the good stuff gets critical acclaim.

We have evolved critics ostensibly to determine what is good, and ideally they will laud high-quality theatre. When the public doesn’t know any better—and they can’t, really, in advance—they must turn to the critic for an opinion with which to compare their own. The critic walks a tightwire strung between public opinion and the accepted (in some cases centuries-old) wisdom as to what determines quality in a given art form. Criticism is, in one sense, the art of thinking about art, and the art of articulating that thought. The role of the critic is, ideally, to attempt to rotate the “popularity” axis counterclockwise so that it more closely approximates the “quality” axis.

Popular theatre is profitable theatre… one hopes.

Since popular means that people showed up and (presumably, or what are you doing?) paid, it follows that popular productions are financial successes (hopefully, they made a profit). The definition of a financial success is an accounting question rather than an economic one, and it’s muddled somewhat by the issue of grants. You can always, however, peek out from the wings and see how many seats are full. Popularity, all other things being equal, can depend upon such factors as appropriateness for season (try producing an intellectually-charged tragedy in the middle of winter) or local relevance. It is rarely influenced by the rain.

Now here’s the diagram that’s going to piss everyone off (with any luck). These are the regions of the graph we might expect professional and community theatre to occupy.

Professional vs. Community Theatre: what we might expect

Let me start by saying that I love community theatre. For one thing, it’s pretty much the only way, in a market like ours here in Ottawa, that we will see plays with a cast of more than four characters on stage. Also, perhaps also because of the state of the market, some of our community theatre is pretty good quality.

On the other hand, I also think that the people who produce/create a product should, if they so desire, be paid in accordance with the perceived exchange value (with society) of their contribution to the product. That means, if you consider that theatre has value (and why are you reading this if you don’t?), then actors (and crew, and everyone else involved with a production) deserve to be paid. Unless, of their own free will, they waive that pay.

Can community and professional theatre co-exist? Certainly. But there are certain conditions that must be met for that to happen.