Organisers unsure if 'Awe Society' will continue this year
Stabroek News
November 26, 2003

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The organisers of `Awe Society 14', which was pulled from the stage of the National Cultural Centre following a fatal shooting in the compound after the opening night show ended, are unsure whether the play will be on stage again this year.

Speaking to Stabroek News yesterday, the show's publicist Carwyn Holland said that if the reason for cancelling the show was the recent crime wave then it was probably in the best interest of the people to wait until there was peace and tranquility in the society. If there were any other reason for the cancellation, then it would be a surprise to him, he said, since a show was never before censored, given the green light to be staged, and then cancelled.

Holland said he did not think the reason was slow ticket sales, which was one of the reasons given by Manager of the National Cultural Centre, Godwin Saul. He said that most persons preferred to purchase their tickets at the cultural centre itself. Slow ticket sales, if that were indeed the case, could also be attributed to the fact that the script went through censorship and tickets only went on sale the day before the opening night. Despite this, he added, there was a good turnout on opening night, which suggests that the nights to follow would have been better.

Holland said an earlier announcement of the cancellation of the show could not have been made because the organisers of 'Awe Society 14' had been led to believe that the show had been postponed and that the final decision was still to be made by the Cultural Centre management and conveyed to them. This decision came only yesterday. The organisers, he said, have not yet been given another date for the staging of the production and still have to find a way of covering the production costs, which exceed $1 million.

Holland said he knew that Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, Gail Teixeira was a strong advocate for local culture, including theatrical productions, so he was confident that there would be an amicable solution to the problem. He also sympathised with the many persons who were calling to express their disappointment at not being able to see the satirical production. But he noted that it was not the organisers' decision to cancel the show as this rested clearly in the hands of the National Cultural Centre and the Culture Ministry.
Mr Small Man (CN Sharma?) taking a complaint from a citizen.

When questioned as to why there were so many scenes depicting shootings and killings in the one-hour second half of the production and whether it would not have been better to allow theatre-goers a respite from these happenings in the society, Holland said that the name 'Awe Society' speaks for itself. The production is intended to mirror a society, he said, though not necessarily the Guyanese society. The piece in question, The Gun, was just a one-act play in a production which had many pieces on various issues such as functional illiteracy and HIV/AIDS, Holland noted.

According to the writer, Dr Ken Danns, who is currently overseas, the task of the theatrical production in its 14th year remains constant to stage's dramatic snapshots of these realities with the hope of creating understanding which can lead to positive changes. Danns believes that theatre as an art can bring about social change.

Efforts yesterday to speak to the director of 'Awe Society 14', Desiree Edghill were unsuccessful.