Thursday, September 11, 2008

History of Richard Monette

Somehow, for all his acting brilliance, directorial success, and ability as artistic director of the Stratford Festival, my most vivid memory of Richard Monette is still the film of him at the Festival's Annual General Meeting of 1980.

He, the Festival's leading young actor at the time, leaps up from the audience at the meeting, incandescent with fury, to protest all the ways the board of directors is mismanaging and undermining the theatre to which he and his fellows have devoted their lives. And the chair of the board does not know who he is. "Who are you, sir? What is your name?"

And Monette says, "We have spent our lives in this theatre, we have given of our time and we care about art. You talk to us about money all the time."

Is there a working artist in the country has not felt like that sometime?

Actually, when Monette much later became director of the Festival himself, he proved himself very adept with the money. He did not disdain the financial realities of art.

He was only sixty-four. I thought he was older. Sandra Martin's obituary for him is here.
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