The following is excerpted from Dramaturgy of Sound in the Avant-garde and Postdramatic Theatre by Mladen Ovadija.
But what is sound to theatre, or theatre to sound? What would be the motive and the cue for our cry for sound? Whatever the answers to this quasi-Shakespearean question, it holds true that sound has become the subject of renewed interest in recent theatre discourse.
In theatre, as in life, sound is born and dies with action. The transitory life of sound is essentially dramatic. It becomes audible only when a moving mass of gaseous, liquid, or solid matter encounters an obstacle to create whistling, trumpeting, hums, shrills, babbles, gurgles, shrieks, drumbeats, rings, and the like. Sound emanates from the stage in the form of vocal utterances (speech, chanting, and singing), instrumental renditions (music), and the clamour of environmental onstage and offstage events (noise). We perceive it as a sensory attraction caused by a movement of air coming from an animate source (such as a performer) or an inanimate source (perhaps a part of stage setting). We perceive sound directly without necessarily knowing its source or meaning: it simply escapes mere denotative function. Sound, thus, not only reveals dramatic performance: it is perhaps more appropriate to say, sound is performance.
Are young people aspiring to creative careers just a bunch of whiny trust fund brats? In the pilot episode of HBO’s hit series Girls, 24 year old Hannah Horvath is trying to make it as a writer in New York City. Confronted with the reality of having to financially support herself after her parents decide to cut her off, she begs for “$1100 a month for the next two years.” Creator Lena Dunham is offering her character’s sense of entitlement up for comedic effect, but where’s the joke? Who is laughing at whom, and why? The Nation compares Hannah’s privileged upbringing and newfound experience of being broke to Fiona Gallagher’s working class reality of poverty in Shameless, but concludes that in today’s economically grim times, the distinctions between downwardly mobile, underemployed youth and the working poor may be becoming muddy.
Thirty years ago, Anglo-American politicians set out to make the public sector look like the private sector. These reforms continue today, ultimately seeking to empower elected officials to shape policies and pushing public servants to manage operations in the same manner as their private-sector counterparts. In Whatever Happened to the Music Teacher?, Donald Savoie provides a nuanced account of how the Canadian federal government makes decisions.Savoie argues that the traditional role of public servants advising governments on policy has been turned on its head, and that evidence-based policy making is no longer valued as it once was.
The following is excerpted from Canadian Medicare: We Need It and We Can Keep It by Stephen Duckett and Adrian Peetoom.
Medicare is more than laws and regulations. As the Romanow report (2002) pointed out, from the beginning medicare has been an expression of our care for one another. As some other writers have said, it is as binding an element of Canadian life today as the railroads that connected East and West in the nineteenth century. Our medicare is a commitment Canadians made to one another more than half a century ago. In times of need brought on by health problems, we will continue to help each other financially. Medicare is ours. It is not the beneficence of governments, be they federal or provincial. Nor is it the goodwill of health care corporations. However much appreciated, it is not even the kindness of front-line health care professionals: physicians, nurses, equipment technicians, medical administrators, and hospital orderlies. All those simply represent the will of the people fed by a spirit of generosity and care for one another.
Canadians sometimes forget this fact, and who can blame them? In a country as large as ours, with a population steadily growing and now well over 33 million, we need complex organization to give expression to our generosity. Our generosity gets to be mediated, almost overshadowed, by organizations. Many hospitals and drug companies are involved, and these institutions often obey their own primary rule: “got to be looking good.” Governments want to appear to be the source of citizen wellness, be it economic, social, or medical. Drug companies stress the presumed benefits of their chemicals and suppress their often highly questionable marketing strategies. Physicians don’t always possess superb bedside manners, and some believe they hold the key to unlocking the secrets of the human body and must be regarded with a special type of awe. However, the work of all of these contributors to the health care system, even the kindest of nurses, only happens because of the generosity of the more than 33 million neighbours who share our country, those we know and those we don’t know: our tax dollars pay for all of the costs of the Canadian health care system. This generosity sets the context for our medicare and must be kept in mind in any discussion about how to change the system.
The following is excerpted from Hijacking History: American Culture and the War on Terror by Liane Tanguay.
CNN and CBS issued two commemorative DVDs that seemed to be aimed at satisfying a Freudian “compulsion to repeat” occasioned by the “trauma” that the networks themselves had helped to generate in the first place (for Freud, the principle of repetition- compulsion arises from a situation inassimilable into “reality,” or Lacan’s “symbolic order” – essentially, language – which therefore leads to repeated attempts to resolve it). CNN’s America Remembers: The Events of September 11 and America’s Response and CBS’s What We Saw: The Events of September 11, 2001 – in Words, Pictures, and Video reassert the event’s “traumatic” significance while at the same time re-indulging in repetition-compulsion. Both releases emphasize the shock value of the event, alluding first and foremost to the sheer ordinariness of the morning prior to the first strike on the North Tower. CBS anchor Dan Rather begins his introduction to What We Saw with the most banal of observations concerning the circumstances of that morning – namely, the weather: “September 11th, 2001,” he intones, “The sky over New York that morning was crystal clear.”
The Merger Delusion
How Swallowing Its Suburbs Made an Even Bigger Mess of Montreal
By Peter Trent
Powerless under the country’s constitution, Canadian municipal governments often find themselves in conflict with their provincial masters. In 2002, the Province of Quebec forcibly merged all cities on the Island of Montreal into a single municipality – a decision that was partially reversed in 2006. The first book-length study of the series of mergers imposed by the Parti Québécois government, The Merger Delusion is a sharp and insightful critique by a key player in anti-merger politics.
Peter Trent, mayor of the City of Westmount, Quebec, foresaw the numerous financial and institutional problems posed by amalgamating municipalities into megacities. Here, he presents a stirring and detailed account of the battle he led against the provincial government, the City of Montreal, the Board of Trade, and many of his former colleagues. Describing how he took the struggle all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada, Trent demonstrates the ways in which de-mergers resonated with voters and eventually helped the Quebec Liberal Party win the 2003 provincial election.
As the cost and pitfalls of forced mergers become clearer in hindsight, The Merger Delusion recounts a compelling case study with broad implications for cities across the globe.