Home Letters Someone needs to do something about National Cultural Centre
Emmanuella and Success are stars, and Mark Angel is a good creator of contemporary slapstick comedy with an uncanny ability to leverage the social media pathway to success. Their live show, now on tour, is a triumph for the YouTube content creators— and a glimpse of the claimed promises of new media.
Having said that, ‘Emmanuella for Emancipation’ at the National Cultural Centre was highway robbery. The technical production was the worst I have experienced on either side of the proscenium in over four decades.
I performed consistently on that stage in our premier theatre from the late 70s into the 90s, at no point during that time would the audience have been subjected to the abuse we paid for on Wednesday night.
Except for dance recitals and pantomime, hearing the words spoken by those on stage is critical to the enjoyment of the show. For comedy, it is even more critical because there is no point to comedy if you miss the punch-lines.
To see the adorable and precocious Success struggle with a microphone on her head and a microphone in her hand simultaneously, and still carry a bowl with water, and still try to deliver her lines and action was distressing. The actors were trying their best, but the inadequate sound system and its hapless operators were very trying.
We were made to endure deteriorating seats designed, built, and installed in 1972, and not recently refurbished. We’ll limit our use of the toilet facilities, and some of us will skip going to the bar at intermission. But if we can’t hear the actors, clearly, there is no point buying tickets to get dressed up in these fancy clothes and make the journey to the National Cultural Centre. For crying out loud, we have Mark Angel Comedy on YouTube already.
Someone needs to do something about the National Cultural Centre and they need to do it fast. Given the Centre’s history, it is a downright shame that this is what we are offering to performers, producers, and patrons. Whoever should be ashamed, should be.