A couple of weeks ago a friend was telling me about a live theatre performance she and her husband saw in Moncton. Actually, she pretty much raved about the acting, set design...and they even had Mary Poppins fly through the air. She then added that it was on par with anything you would see on Broadway. Since the two of them have seen a few Broadway shows she had the right to make comparisons.
This conversation took place around the time the Olympics were ending. I pointed out that I was not surprised there would be excellence in theatre performance. There is a theatre tradition in the Maritimes. This same friend raved about the performance of Mamma Mia at the Confederation Centre and they have attended performances at Ship's Company. There is a definite tradition, along with opportunities for theatre experiences and examples of excellent directing, acting, set design, and lighting.
In the conversation with my friend I pointed to the concept of random sampling within a population. If New York – and other large cities had a certain number of superb actors – we would also have equal talent here...maybe just fewer numbers. However, that concept was blown out of the waters with the recent Olympics. The United States has a population of over 324 million people and won 23 medals, while Canada with a population of 36 and a half million earned 29 medals and placed third in the standings.
The real feat that destroys the random sampling concept is attributed to Norway. That country placed first in medals with 39, and the population is only 5,258,317. Germany received 31 medals. That country has a population of well over 82 million so they could reflect a law of averages. All in all, I think the Canadians had an amazing presence at the olympics.
There are more ways in which Canadians are amazing. We have wonderful visual artists, writers, and muscicians. We also have some individuals, past and present, who exhibit bravery and tremendous wisdom and tolerance. We soon will be seeing $10 bills appearing with the image of Viola Desmond. This woman risked a great deal by insisting on sitting in a “whites only” section of a movie theatre. She was arrested and fined...however, she brought change.
Another woman recently showed amazing understanding and tolerance when she picked her two daughters up from a school that had been defaced with racist graffiti. Molly Peters is from the Paqtnkek First Nation and her two daughters attend East Antigonish Education Centre in Monastery. She explained to her daughters, “I just want to make sure you know we don't fight hate with hate. We fight hate with love and light and compassion.” Words of wisdom spoken by a true heroine.
Shirley Hallee’s column runs weekly in the Amherst News