Awe Society cancelled over killings on and off stage By Kim Lucas and Oscar P. Clarke
Stabroek News
November 25, 2003

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Art imitating life imitating art: A scene from Awe Society 14. The show was cancelled yesterday after the opening night's performance, in part because a man was killed by unknown gunmen on the centre's grounds shortly after the performance. Officials cla

Soon after actors came off the stage of the National Cultural Centre (NCC) on Sunday night, having performed a play about violent crime, a real life murder on the theatre's grounds hardened the resolve of NCC management to cancel the satirical 'Awe Society 14'.

The production, which opened the same night of the shooting death of 21-year-old Kwesi Williams, was billed to run until Wednesday night. However, Stabroek News was told last night that it had been pulled.

Godwin Saul, NCC's manager, openly stated last night that segments of the show's content, especially the second half, which made reference to "Buxton and killings", was the primary reason behind the cancellation. He also said ticket sales yesterday were slow, which he attributed to the shooting, and that the artistes had not turned up last night. This newspaper understands that "there were some developments before the show".

But Carwyn Holland, the show's publicist was last night optimistic that they should "get things resolved" so that patrons would be able to visit the Cultural Centre under a more relaxed atmosphere. He was not, however, too clear about the exact reason why the production was pulled.

Saul told patrons that it was "distasteful" to run the show now, given the incidents that occurred at the NCC's premises and the fact that the show's content mirrored Sunday night's shooting.

Holland, however, maintained that the shooting took place after persons had left the show and had nothing to do with the long running satirical show. He conceded that most of the show's content dealt with murders especially those that happened in Buxton.

He explained that over $300,000 had already been spent to advertise and prepare for the production, and as such he hoped good sense prevailed and the NCC could make available new dates. He insisted, "The content had nothing to do with it (the cancellation)."

A number of persons turned up at the NCC last night and were informed by Saul that the show had been cancelled. Stabroek News observed two notices bearing the NCC's official stamp stating, 'Sorry, the show Awe Society is off until further notice. Thank you'.

Some patrons were observed milling around as if contemplating their next move, while others left. One seemingly irritated woman was lamenting the lack of timely notices of the show's cancellation, which she said would have saved persons incurring expenses to travel to the theatre.

"Who gon refund meh taxi money?" she queried as she re-entered a waiting taxi.

However, Saul said the producers of the show had been told since 8 am yesterday, although the decision to formally cancel the show was not taken until close to noon. Holland did say that he had received a call from the show's director, Desiree Edghill, at about noon, informing him of the NCC's decision. He said they then made an announcement on GTV Channel 11.

Saul said they were hoping to begin refunding ticket money from today.