Call and Response – Gay Vancouver

Posted on Aug 14, 2010

In part 2 of our series called Call and Response Sebastien Archibald  will respond to the review of Robin Hood posted on Gay Vancouver.

Here’s a quote from the review

“The entire cast here is committed to the material and there is some real talent.  Cook’s Robin Hood was endearing in just the right amount of rogue-we-love swagger and enough charisma that by the end of the night I was almost ready to join his crusade.  Williams’ Marion sees a nice progression from clueless Paris Hilton to steadfast activist willing to give it all up to do the right thing (and for love, of course).”

And here’s the whole thing:

Seb’s Thoughts:

This is a great review and I’m glad he got the show. I agree with a few criticisms in that the script could pull in a tighter focus and not labor the points too much.

Although Robin Hood’s ideals are more socialist in nature I would argue that the play doesn’t pit capitalism against socialism with socialism coming out as the victor. A direct and objective criticism of the two is never made given that socialism doesn’t actually exist in Robin Hood’s world (it’s only and ideal that he supports). Also, it’s not capitalism that’s directly assaulted but the kind of people at the top of the chain, the ones who call the shots, that are lambasted.

The criticism of focusing on the Olympics as being stale is surprising. It only happened six months ago. It’s barely history. People make art refrencing past events all the time (the holocaust being a notable example). I’d like more details as to what is “stale”.


  1. Mark Robins
    August 15, 2010

    Hi Seb (and The ZooCrew)

    What a great forum. I am glad our Google Alerts worked to let us know it existed. I usually don’t get an opportunity to talk about my reviews or get any direct feedback on them; if a show works for me I am quoted, if it doesn’t I am simply ignored 🙂 I hope you don’t mind me weighing in!

    Let me see if I can explain or expound on some of my comments in my original review and help with continuing the dialogue:

    1. Capitalism vs socialistm – not surprisingly, sometimes I use words for effect – much like a playwright 😉 Sometimes they are good words, sometimes they are not … my opening comment about capitalism vs socialism was designed to illustrate my point that at times I felt I was being lectured. You make good points in your response although I am interested in your comment about how a comparison to socialism cannot exist because it is only an ideal and not reality – perhaps I am missing your point but I’m not sure why that comparison cannot be made – a comparison to an ideal to me is as good as a comparison to reality as that is how we reach conclusions or decisions about the relative merit of ideals.

    2. Capitalism – from my perspective I didn’t see Robin Hood only about the type of people that are “at the top of the chain”. Yes, you use politicians, the police, etc but I did not take them literally – I took them to mean all of the same ilk regardless of their position on the chain. The reason I did not take them literally was the broad strokes that some of these characters received.

    3. Olympics – my point here, and perhaps it didn’t come across so well in my text, was whether the show might have had more impact before the Olympics. With our media driven society we’ve moved on; the Olympics are old hat, bring on the HST! As to the exploration of past events I don’t disagree although to be honest I did found your reference to the Holocaust a little out-of-place.

    Interestingly Robin Hood garnered a number of remarks on our site – not all of them the most constructive or respectful but one thing for sure is something within your show touched a nerve and that is ALWAYS a good thing. It touched a nerve with me as well:

    “… in the end I found myself reflecting on my own personal situation and some of the bigger themes that this production explores, so in that sense it was indeed successful.”

    You have also hit upon a unique method of delivery that deserves to be seen. I applaud you for that and I hope that came out in my review (500 words is tough).

    Again thanks for this forum.

    Best regards

    Mark Robins

  2. Sebastien
    August 16, 2010

    How cool is this?! Having online chats with a critic! The information age in all it’s glory.

    1) Fair enough. And I have received this criticism before and in other reviews so I should probably pay attention. Any specifics you can remember that were particularly laboured/heavy handed?

    The plays primary critique was directed towards the greedy and selfish men who govern our province and country. Robin’s socialist ideals are presented as a counter argument to the way things are but our show offers no direct OBJECTIVE comparison between the two ideologies. So what we have is a “pie in the sky” idealism (represented by Robin Hood) and a hyper-styled impression of capitalists and politicians.

    2) True, broad strokes abound in our show. And I guess I was making a broad statement on those who support the status quo and maintain the power imbalances in our society. All the cogs in the capitalist wheel. Which of course I’m guilty of as well. And there are aspects of capitalism that are great. But I feel it has grown into a monster far beyond our ability to control it. It’s our economic frankenstein.

    3) This is possible. Although I was writing it as the Olympics were happening, and given the time it takes to mount a production, any earlier would have been logistically impossible.

    My point was that artists are always commenting on past events (Holocaust, 911, wars, etc.) and shared experiences. The Olympics happened 6 months ago and, you’re right, most of us have moved on. Except of course those who have little to nothing to move on to, namely people on the street. And the collective short term memory you speak of is part of a larger problem. Probably the same reason we keep re-electing douche bags.

    Anyway. You’re review was great and I’m glad the show resonated with you. There is no better response I could hope for than that. And I do realize critics are limited in the constructive criticism the can offer by their word count. So if there’s any more specific details you could offer it would be greatly appreciated.



  3. Mark Robins
    August 24, 2010

    Hmm, I’m thinking maybe you didn’t get my 2nd post?

  4. Mark Robins
    August 25, 2010

    As my memory fails me (it was near impossible to watch the show and take notes) … I do recall Marion having a couple of speeches that were performed directly to the audience that felt a little heavy handed than most.

    I think where I had the hardest time was in not seeing any new fresh arguments as to the relative evils of the Olympics on Vancouver.

    As for commenting on past events I don’t disagree, I just have a hard time putting our Olympics into the same vein as the Holocaust, 9/11 and wars. I know it is not your intent to minimize these other events, but they can hardly be compared to what happened in Vancouver in February.

    But enough of me and my review. I’m still waiting for your “Call and Response” on Colin’s review 😉

    Best regards


    • Sebastien
      August 25, 2010

      Yeah, I’d probably rewrite/edit those parts. I’ve had that criticism from a few people now. Colin touched on a few of those same criticisms as well. Time to tackle them…


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