The play’s the thing

I don’t imagine that if one were to create a Venn diagram to illustrate this post, that the intersection between People Who Closely Follow Canadian Federal Politics and People Who Enjoy Amateur Theatre would serve up much more than a hair’s breadth of overlap. But surely there are a couple of people who can lay claim to both. So, Rodney MacDonald of Inverness and Katherine Sousa of Strathcona, this one’s for you.


There has been much debate about the level of civility and accountability in the Canadian House of Parliament. Some are suggesting that the solution lies in giving the Speaker of the House greater powers, others feel such a move “goes too far.”

But two things caught my ear during debate earlier today, and they pointed at the same thing.

First, Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party of Canada, referred to the performance of some MPs as “bad high school theatre.” Not long after, MP Scott Simms (Liberal) described Question Period as “expensive dinner theatre … and not necessarily good theatre, either.”

My first impulse, after banging on my invisible desk (aka: my lap) and spilling my non-invisible beverage (aka: my coffee) was to wonder what kind of actual theatre one might be able to get away with in the House.

There are the Aristotelian standards: tragedy, comedy, melodrama, drama. I think those are fair game and already well represented, though perhaps unintentionally (comedy, I’m looking at you).

Then there are different theatrical styles, everything from classical (Shakespeare’s Hamlet) to postmodern (Müller’s Hamletmachine).  Theatre of the Absurd. So many options to choose from!

But I am limited by time (have to pick up my kid) and space (see earlier reference to lap desk) so I have decided to limit my suggested lineup to these three stagings:

Tony and Tina’s Wedding (dinner theatre)
A “festive celebration,” this show dispenses with the public gallery, and invites visiting groups to join in on the fun. Raise a toast to democracy! Amuse your bouche with Parliamentary procedure! Main course: Pizza. Don’t ask.

Phantom of the Opera (musical)
The spirit of accountability returns to haunt Members. Featuring the popular songs, “All I Ask Of You,” “Why So Silent?” and “Notes.”

Death of a Salesman (tragedy)
An older man struggles to accept that his services are no longer needed. Will his children face a brighter future, thanks to his sacrifice? (Spoiler: No.)

And … scene.

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If you think I’m talking about you here, yeah, you’re probably right.

If you think I’m talking about you here, yeah, you’re probably right.

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