The NCC - a circus? Guest Editorial
Guyana Chronicle
December 4, 2003

Related Links: Articles on AIDS
Letters Menu Archival Menu

At last it has happened. The signs had been there for some time, giving one the impression that the management of the National Cultural Centre (NCC) hasn't been paying enough attention - or never got the attention it sought - to mend the centre's broken parts.

When the dam broke at the NCC the other evening, and the curtain was brought down prematurely on this year's Flame and the Ribbon show, the cast was all but traumatized, and those patrons who came to view a message in drama went home fuming and unfulfilled.

Just because a few uncouth persons once again decided to use this annual presentation to show others how uncivilized they could be.

The tragedy is not that this dysfunctional few carried on in the theatre, but that the NCC management was in no position to have them removed.

The NCC says its ushers tried to remove the rowdy few from the audience, but they backed down when they were threatened with bites and scratches. The ushers called the Police, but they came too late to stop the other performance offstage.

It's logical to expect that the NCC administration would have had the Police on hand. Or is it? The behaviour of the undisciplined few began some four years ago at the Flame and the Ribbon show. Since then it has spilled over to other NCC events. It's bad enough at music and dance shows, but for drama, it is a bete noir.

The producer of Ian Valz's Two's A crowd is very much aware of this. It was so bad at one performance that he had to shout his lines to be heard above the bedlam. To add insult to injury, one newspaper critic accused Ian of a much too loud delivery.

With all this going on, it is strange that the NCC did not think it wise to have the Police on hand earlier this week.

Of course, the NCC should have its own security. But that's another story.

Time was when audiences in the theatre were chided by ushers when they spoke just a bit too loudly to friends sitting next to them. Now theatre goers jump up and down in their seats, dash into the aisles and stage their own performances.

And they are not thrown out.

Needless to say, this will keep bona fide theatre lovers from the NCC, and producers of good theatre will just slip back into near oblivion.

And what of visitors who come here and are keen on visiting what is perhaps the only theatre of its kind in the Caribbean?

We ought to be ashamed that we have allowed our National Cultural Centre to become a circus, and a bawdy one at that.