Transcript: RH Thomson | Oct 26, 1997

(Rhythmic string and wind music plays)

In animation, a word in pink slides by against a gray background as hands paint strokes using paintbrushes, play a piano, and touch as in a ballet performance.

The title of the show reads “Dialogue. With R.H. Thomson; Actor.”

Richard Ouzounian appears facing the screen. He's in his late forties, clean-shaven, with short side-parted blond hair. He's wearing rounded glasses, a purple coat, beige trousers, and a striped blue shirt.

He says I'M RICHARD OUZOUNIAN.
WELCOME TO
DIALOGUE.
YOU'RE ABOUT TO MEET A MAN
WHO I'VE SEEN FOR MANY YEARS
IN A VARIETY OF ROLES.
HE'S DISCOVERED INSULIN, HE'S
KILLED THE DANISH COURT.
HE'S WOOED PEOPLE.
HE'S FOUGHT WITH
REVOLUTIONARIES.
BUT WHATEVER HE'S DONE,
HE'S BEEN INTERESTING.
HE'S FUN TO WATCH.
HE'S FUN TO TALK TO.
THIS
DIALOGUE
IS
WITH R.H. THOMSON.

R.H. is in his forties, clean-shaven, with wavy blond hair. He’s wearing a khaki shirt over a green sweatshirt, and blue jeans.

Richard continues SO ROBERT, WELCOME
TO THE SHOW.

R.H. says THANKS, RICHARD.

Richard says THE FIRST THING WE HAVE
TO GET OUT OF THE WAY,
EVERYBODY SAYS R.H.
NOW IT'S REALLY
NOT CRYPTIC, IS IT?
IT'S ROBERT HOLMES?

R.H. says NO, IT'S MY BLOOD
TYPE ON THE CARD.
I'M R.H. POSITIVE.
IT'S A FACT.

Richard says REALLY?
WHY IS IT R.H.?

A caption appears on screen. It reads "R.H. Thomson. Actor."

R.H. says WHY IS IT R.H.?
I'M SO ANCIENT, I'M SO CLOSE
TO THE NEOLITHIC PERIOD THAT
WHEN I JOINED EQUITY, WE WERE
AFFILIATED WITH AMERICAN
EQUITY, SO YOUR NAME HAD
TO BE PROVED IN NEW YORK.
SO I TRIED ROBERT THOMSON.
THEY WROTE BACK AND SAID NO.
I TRIED BOB THOMSON.
THEY SAID NO.
I TRIED ROBERT H. THOMSON.
THEY SAID TOO CLOSE.
I TRIED BOB H...
SO I WENT R.H.
HE LIVED IN CHICAGO.
I LOOKED HIM UP ONCE.

Richard says VERY GOOD.
I WONDER IF THIS IS SOMETHING
THAT MAY HAVE COLOURED YOUR
WHOLE ATTITUDE TOWARD BEING
SUCH A RAMPANT CANADIAN, WHICH
YOU ARE, BEING VERY ANXIOUS
TO FOSTER ART IN CANADA,
DEFEND ART IN CANADA
AND WORK IN CANADA.
WHERE DID YOU BECOME
SUCH A NATIONALIST GUY?

R.H. says NOW DO WE MEAN NATIONALIST
WITH THE BLINKERS,
WHO WANT TO PUT WALLS
AROUND THEIR COUNTRY?
OR DO WE MEAN --?

Richard says NO, WE MEAN WITH THE
ARMS OPEN AND EMBRACING.

R.H. says I DON'T KNOW.
CERTAINLY, I HAD CHIPS ON MY
SHOULDERS ABOUT MOST OF THE
GREAT NATIONS IN THE WORLD.
CHIPS ON MY SHOULDER ABOUT THE
UNITED STATES, WHICH I GOT
OVER WHEN I WORKED IN ENGLAND.
I LIVED IN ENGLAND
FOR A WHILE.
I WENT TO LAMDA, MY WHOLE
CLASS WAS AMERICAN.
SO THEN I LEARNED
TO LOVE AMERICA.
THEN I HAD WONDERFUL
CHIPS ABOUT BRITAIN.
BUT THEN I SAW TOO MUCH
BRITISH THEATRE AND STARTED
TO UNDERSTAND
WHAT WAS GOING ON.
AND I ALWAYS THOUGHT I'D
LIKE TO LIVE IN EUROPE AND
ENGLAND, AND ALL THE REST OF
IT, AND I GUESS IT WAS ON A
RETURN TRIP TO TORONTO,
BETWEEN GIGS, AND I WENT
AND SAW
RED EMMA.

Richard says CAROL BOLT.

R.H. says AT THE TORONTO FREE THEATRE.
YEAH, CAROL BOLT.
AND IT WAS A GOOD PIECE, OKAY,
BUT I SAT IN THE AUDIENCE
AND I WAS REALLY SORT OF
KNOCKED BY A COMMUNITY.
I SAW A COHESION.
I SAW A PURPOSE.
A PURPOSE OF... A
COMMUNAL PURPOSE.
AND I FOUND THAT
QUITE EXCITING.
THEN, IT WASN'T A RATIONAL
DECISION, BUT WHEN I LOOKED AT
THE BRITISH PART OF ME, I'LL
GO BACK TO LAMDA, BE BRITISH,
AND ALL THAT KIND OF STUFF,
I REALIZED I WOULDN'T BE
CREATING ANYTHING.
I WOULD BE JUST
REWORKING AND KEEPING
THE THEATRE SCENE GOING.
IF I WENT TO AMERICA,
I WAS IN THE JUNGLE.
AND I HAD PROBLEMS ABOUT
THE WRITING IN AMERICA.
BUT I THOUGHT IF I LIVED HERE,
I ACTUALLY HAD A CHANCE TO BE
PART OF THE CREATING
OF A CULTURE.
AND THAT EXCITED ME.

Richard says NOW, YOU SAID IT WAS
EXCITING, AND IT WAS AN
EXCITING TIME WHEN
YOU WERE HERE.
BUT NOT THAT MANY YEARS AGO
I READ AN INTERVIEW WITH YOU
WHERE YOU SAID YOU FELT
THEATRE IN CANADA WAS HOLDING
ON, CLAWING ONTO A LEDGE WITH
ITS FINGERNAILS FOR SURVIVAL.
DO YOU REALLY STILL FEEL THAT?

R.H. says YUP.

Richard says HOW COME?

R.H. says I FEEL WE'RE CLAWING WITH OUR
FINGERNAILS ON THE EDGE
FOR SURVIVAL.
THE BIG COMMERCIAL DADDY
STANDING ON TOP OF THE CLIFF
HAS REACHED DOWN AND GRABBED
US, SO WE'RE NOT GOING TO FALL
OFF THE CLIFF BECAUSE WE HAVE
THE GREAT COMMERCIAL ARM
HOLDING US ON.
BUT WHETHER ARTISTICALLY
WE'LL ACTUALLY CONTINUE TO
EXPLORE AND CREATE, AND BE A
BE REALLY VITAL CULTURE IS,
IN FACT, WE'RE STILL ON
WITH OUR FINGERTIPS.
BECAUSE ARTISTIC IS
OUT, AND COMMERCE IS IN.
AND THIS IS THE PREVAILING
WINDS AT THE MOMENT.

Richard says NOW, THE COMMERCE THING,
REFERRING TO, I GUESS,
ALL THE MEGA MUSICALS, RIGHT?
THE DRABINSKYS
AND THE MIRVISHES.

R.H. says NAH, MUCH FURTHER
SPREAD THAN THAT.

Richard says YOU THINK THAT'S GETTING
INTO OUR LEGITIMATE, ARTISTIC
THEATRES AS WELL?

R.H. says IT'S INVADED EVERY BOARD OF
DIRECTORS FOR EVERY THEATRE
ACROSS THE COUNTRY, WITH
A FEW NOTABLE EXCEPTIONS.
IN THAT WHEN CANADA COUNCIL --
WHEN GOVERNMENT GRANTS ARE
BEING CUT BACK, WHEN THE
PUBLIC BODIES ARE SAYING,
NO, NO, WE SHOULDN'T FUND A
CULTURE SO MUCH, EVERYONE HAS
TO TAKE A HIT, EXCEPT FOR
SUBSIDIZING BIG BUSINESS,
WE'LL KEEP THAT GOING,
BUT WE SHOULD CUT CULTURE.
THEREFORE, CULTURE SHOULD LOOK
MORE TO THE PRIVATE SECTOR.
SO IN THE '80s, IN THEIR
WISDOM, AND IT WAS GOOD, YOU
GOT TO GO GET SOME CORPORATE
PEOPLE ON YOUR BOARDS.
YOU WANT TO RAISE MONEY.
SO ALL THE THEATRES, YOU WERE
PART OF IT, DUTIFULLY RAN OUT
AND GOT CORPORATE PEOPLE
ON THEIR BOARDS TO HELP
WITH THE FUNDRAISING.
WELL, THAT WAS THE FIRST
HALF OF THE EQUATION.
THE SECOND HALF KICKED IN,
WHICH EVENTUALLY, IF YOU HAVE
TEN YEARS' SPAN OF A THEATRE'S
LIFE, WITH NOTHING BUT
CORPORATE PEOPLE ON YOUR
BOARDS, THE THEATRE IS GOING
TO START TO THINK CORPORATELY,
WHICH IS IN A FAR MORE
MARKET-DRIVEN, SAFER, MIDDLE
OF THE ROAD, PRODUCE MY
PRODUCT, KIND OF
POINT OF VIEW.
AND THAT IS NOT ARTISTIC.
AND THAT IS NOT LEADERSHIP.
AND THAT IS NOT DARING.
AND THAT IS NOT
TAKING LARGE RISKS.
SO WHETHER YOU ARE TALKING
ABOUT MTC, OR CANADIAN STAGE,
OR MOST THEATRES ACROSS THE
COUNTRY, THEY ARE RUNNING WITH
THE MARKETPLACE AND THE NEED
FOR LARGE SUBSCRIBER LISTS
RIGHT BEHIND THEM.
AND, THEREFORE, THEY ARE
RUNNING CONSERVATIVE.
YOU CAN SEE THE PROGRAMMING
AT MOST THEATRES
ACROSS THE COUNTRY.

Richard says NOW, YOU HAVE WORKED ACROSS
THE COUNTRY, FOR YEARS,
AND YOU COME BACK.
I WAS TALKING TO SOMEONE, AND
I SAID, I FELT IN THE '70s,
AND CERTAINLY MOST OF THE
'80s, THERE WERE A LOT OF
PEOPLE WITH FIRE IN THE BELLY,
AND SOMETIMES, OUTSPOKEN,
LOUD, OBSTREPEROUS, PEOPLE
LIKE, GUY SPRUNG, FOR EXAMPLE,
WHO HAD A VISION AND A WILL
AND A WAY AND WENT AHEAD
AND DID IT.
AND NOW I FIND THAT A LOT
OF THE ARTISTIC DIRECTORS
IN THE COUNTRY, ALL LOOK
LIKE THEY REALLY COULD BE
BOARD PEOPLE, YOU KNOW?
AND THEY'RE POLITE, AND
THEY'RE SOFT SPOKEN,
AND THEY WEAR NICE SUITS,
AND THEY FIT IN WELL.
AND DO YOU FIND THE SAME
TENDENCY HAS HAPPENED?

R.H. says THEY ARE VERY NICE PEOPLE.
I MEAN, I LIKE THE STEVE
SHEPHERDS AND THE BOB BAKERS.
THEY ARE LOVELY PEOPLE.
BUT IT'S ALL TURNED
INTO THIS MIDDLE GROUND.
THE CONSERVATIVE.
THE RISKS ARE GONE.
THE VISIONARIES ARE GONE.
EXCEPT FOR ONE.
THE ONLY THEATRE WHICH HAS
TRULY GROWN, THIS IS WHAT I
KEEP SAYING, YOU KNOW, WHEN
THE ARGUMENT COMES ABOUT
MARKET FORCES, WELL, THE ONLY
THEATRE THAT HAS TRULY GROWN
IN THIS COUNTRY IS
ROBERT LEPAGE'S.
AND HE HAS GONE IN
DIAMETRICALLY THE
OPPOSITE DIRECTION.
HE'S BEEN SMART IN THAT HE'S
WORKED GLOBALLY, AND HE'S
WORKED HOW TO FUND HIS THEATRE
THROUGH, YOU KNOW, TOURING IN
EUROPE, TOURING IN JAPAN,
ETC., ETC. BUT HE'S GONE IN
THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION.
HE'S EXPANDED HIS VISION, AND
THEATRE HAS EXPANDED WITH IT.
MOST OTHER THEATRES ARE
EITHER HANGING ON,
OR EVEN LIKE STRATFORD.
THEY'VE TURNED AROUND AND
FIRST THEY TOOK STRATFORD
SHAKESPEAREAN, THEY TOOK
SHAKESPEAREAN PART OUT OF THE
TITLE, SO IT'S JUST THE
STRATFORD FESTIVAL.
AND NOW THE SHAKESPEARES ARE
DOWN TO FEWER THAN THE OTHER
PLAYS ON THE MENU.
AND THEY DON'T TURN TO THE
DIFFICULT PLAYS HARDLY AT ALL,
AND THE MIDDLE PLAYS RARELY
GET SEEN ON THE STAGE.

Richard says NOW, WE'RE TALKING ABOUT
DIRECTORS HERE, RIGHT,
AND ARTISTIC DIRECTORS.

R.H. says WE'RE TALKING ABOUT THE
VISION OF A CULTURE.
THE VISION OF A COMMUNITY.
THE VISION OF A PEOPLE IS
WHAT WE ARE TALKING ABOUT.

Richard says BUT DO YOU FIND IS THERE
STILL VISION, OR WOULD THERE
BE VISION IN THE PLAYWRIGHTS
OF THIS COUNTRY?

R.H. says YUP.
SOME OF THEM.
BUT THEY ARE HAVING A HARD
TIME GETTING ON THE MAIN STAGES.
DAVID YOUNG BEING ONE.

Richard says NOW, YOU MENTION HIM.

R.H. says BUT ANOTHER THING THAT'S
HAPPENING TO THE WRITERS IS
IN THE SEARCH FOR MONEY,
MANY WRITERS, PARTICULARLY
IN THIS CONTINENT, ARE
WRITING FOR TELEVISION.
IF YOU'RE A TALENTED WRITER,
OF COURSE YOU ARE GOING TO
WRITE FOR SOMEONE WHO IS GOING
TO GIVE YOU A PAY CHEQUE.
SO YOU GO WRITE FOR TV.
WELL, FIRST THAT TAKES
YOU OUT OF THE STREAM.
GEORGE WALKER IS NOW WRITING
A STORY EDITOR FOR CBC,
AND I DON'T KNOW WHAT
ELSE HE'S DOING.
BUT HE'S AN
INCREDIBLE WRITER.
SO WE LOSE HIM.
HE MAY COME BACK
TO THE THEATRE.
JUDITH THOMPSON, WE LOST
FOR A NUMBER OF YEARS.
SHE WENT OFF TO WRITE IN TV.
AND WHY SHOULDN'T THEY?
THEY HAVE TO FEED THEIR
CHILDREN, FOR GOD'S SAKE.
BUT YOU'VE GOT TO PAY THESE
PEOPLE IF YOU WANT THEM TO STAY.
THEY HAVE CHILDREN.
THEY HAVE OBLIGATIONS.
SO WE LOSE THAT.
AND PLUS, THE THEATRES, IF YOU
WRITE A WILD PLAY, YOU GO,
WELL, NOT MANY THEATRES IN THE
COUNTRY WILL TRY THAT, AND YOU
TURN TO SOMETHING ELSE YOU
THINK MIGHT BE PRODUCED.
I'VE BEEN THROUGH TWO
FRUSTRATING ONES
WITH DAVID YOUNG.
THE PLAY ABOUT GLENN GOULD,
WHICH I FIND A HIGHLY
ARTICULATE, INTELLIGENT PLAY
ABOUT THE PREEMINENT MUSICIAN
OF THIS COUNTRY, WHO IS
ON THE VOYAGER SATELLITE,
HEADING OUT INTO THE UNIVERSE.
YOU KNOW, TWO OF GLENN'S
PIECES, BY BACH, PLAYED BY
GLENN, ARE ON THE
SATELLITE GOING OUT.
AND THE PLAY WRITTEN BY DAVID
YOUNG IS AN INTRIGUINGLY
STRUCTURED PLAY, INTELLIGENT,
AND DELVES INTO THIS ENIGMA
WHICH IS THIS PERSON
CALLED GLENN GOULD.
DOESN'T ANSWER IT.
IT HAD ONE PRODUCTION IN
TORONTO FOR A SHORT RUN.
IT HAD A BRAVE SECOND
PRODUCTION BY EDMONTON THEATRE
WHICH HAS NOW GONE UNDER.
AND NOBODY ELSE
WANTS TO TOUCH IT.
AND THIS IS A PLAY I
FARM OUT REGULARLY.
AND USUALLY, THE ANSWER FROM
THE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR IS,
'UM, MY AUDIENCE WOULDN'T
UNDERSTAND IT'.
WELL, WHAT ARE WE DOING HERE
IF WE'RE NOT GOING TO TRY
TO UNDERSTAND ONE OF OUR
INCREDIBLE ARTISTS THAT
WE'VE HAD IN THIS CENTURY?

Richard says IT'S INTERESTING.
YOU TALKED ABOUT THAT
UNDERSTANDING THING.
I MEAN, I SAW
GLENN, AND IT
WAS A PERFECTLY ACCESSIBLE
PLAY ABOUT THE DIFFERENT
STAGES IN GLENN'S LIFE.
ON THE OTHER HAND, JUST
RECENTLY IN TORONTO, YOU HAD A
LARGE COMMERCIAL HIT, SUCH AS
IT GOES, WITH A TOM STOPPARD
PLAY,
ARCADIA, WHICH IS,
FOR THE AVERAGE PERSON,
IMPOSSIBLE TO UNDERSTAND.
AND I WALKED AROUND CANADIAN
STAGE THE NIGHT I WAS THERE,
AND THERE IS LAUGHTER AT THE
ACCESSIBLE BITS, AND APPLAUSE,
BUT THERE ARE SO MANY HUSBANDS
AND WIVES AT INTERMISSION
FIGHTING AND SAYING, WHY
DID YOU DRAG ME TO THIS?
AND I DON'T UNDERSTAND A
WORD THAT'S ON THAT STAGE.
BUT YET THAT CAN BE A HIT.
IS IT BECAUSE IT'S BRITISH?

R.H. says THAT HELPS.
THE NAME HELPS.
STOPPARD HELPS.
THE SIZE OF THE THEATRE, AND
THEIR SUBSCRIPTION LIST HELPS.
EVERYONE LIKES CANADIAN STAGE
BECAUSE THEY HAVE A VERY
LARGE SUBSCRIBER LIST, WHICH
MEANS YOU CAN THROW A LOT OF
PEOPLE AT THE PLAY.
WHEREAS NECESSARY ANGEL,
PRODUCING
GLENN,
HAS A VERY SMALL LIST.
SO YOU DON'T GET THAT
KIND OF OPPORTUNITY.
BUT IT'S THE WHOLE THING OF
DUMBING DOWN OF AUDIENCES.
AND I'VE SEEN IT
OVER THE YEARS.
I PLAYED
REAL THING,
ANOTHER STOPPARD PLAY AT MTC.
AND IT WENT QUITE WELL.
IT WASN'T QUITE AS DIFFICULT
AS
ARCADIA, BUT STILL,
IT'S VERY FAST, VERBAL HUMOUR,
BITING, AND DOUBLE TWISTED,
DOUBLE SIDED HUMOUR.
AND IT WENT REALLY WELL.
THEY LAUGHED.
MEANING THEY GOT IT IN
WINNIPEG, IN 1989,
OR '88, OR WHATEVER IT WAS.
I GO BACK THERE WITH
ARCADIA, SILENCE.

Richard says REALLY.

R.H. says FOR THE FIRST 23 ROWS.
WELL, THAT WASN'T THE AUDIENCE
THAT WAS THERE IN '89, '88.
AND I KNOW THE HIGH END
AUDIENCE, NOT THAT THEY'RE
BETTER PEOPLE, BUT IF THEY
JUST HAVE A MORE REFINED
CUTTING TASTE FOR WHAT THEY
WANT, AND ARE MORE ADVENTUROUS
WHEN THEY SIT IN THE SEAT,
THEY'VE GONE FROM THE THEATRE.
THEY GO.
THEY LOOK AT THE SUBSCRIBER
LIST AND GO, WHY SHOULD I
SUBSCRIBE TO THOSE FIVE PLAYS,
ALL MIDDLE OF THE ROAD,
BOTTOM OF THE ROAD, WHEN
NONE OF MY INTERESTS ARE
REPRESENTED THERE.
AND THEY CUT OUT.

Richard says AND WHERE DO THEY GO?

R.H. says WELL, THEY STOP
GOING TO THEATRE.
THEY GET BORED.
OR THEY TRY TO GO TO SOME
OF THE SMALLER THEATRES.
I DON'T KNOW.

Richard says IN FACT, SOMETHING ELSE YOU
SAID, YOU SAID YOU DESPAIRED
ABOUT THE QUALITY OF
STORY-TELLING ON TELEVISION
AND THE MOVIES.
SO THEY ARE NOT
GOING THERE, RIGHT?

R.H. says A LOT OF PEOPLE
TURN OFF THEIR TVs.
A LOT OF PEOPLE DON'T GO OUT.
I DON'T KNOW WHAT IT IS.
I DON'T KNOW WHAT IT IS.
BUT IT'S A LACK OF ENERGY, A
VITALNESS IN THE COMMUNITY.
BOTH A CREATING COMMUNITY,
AND THE AUDIENCE COMMUNITY.
I MEAN, COMMERCIALLY,
IT'S NEVER BEEN BETTER.
BUT AS RICHARD MONETTE SAID,
HIS GREAT ARTICLE IN
THE GLOBE,
THE END OF THE 19th CENTURY,
THE LAST SORT OF THREE DECADES,
WAS AN INCREDIBLE TIME
FOR COMMERCIAL THEATRE.
COMMERCIAL THEATRE IN THE
LATE 1900s WAS ASTOUNDING.
SUCCESS AFTER SUCCESS,
COMPANY AFTER COMPANY.
NOW NOBODY WANTS TO DO ANY
OF THE PLAYS WRITTEN
AT THAT TIME.
COMMERCIALLY, INCREDIBLY
SUCCESSFUL, AND WE'D ALL
RATHER FORGET IT BECAUSE
THEY ARE NOT WORTH DOING.
AND THAT'S A LESSON I
DON'T WANT US TO REPEAT.
BUT...

Richard says I WAS GOING TO SAY, I LOOK
BACK AT CANADIAN PLAYS FROM
THE '70s, BY SHARON
POLLOCK AND GEORGE REGA,
AND DAVID FENNARIO, AND ALL
THOSE PLAYS THEY WERE
WRITING THEN, AND I THINK
WHEN YOU WERE TALKING
ABOUT CANADIAN DRAMATIC
LITERATURE, THEY WILL LAST.
BUT I LOOK NOW AND I
WONDER WHAT SUCCESS THAT
THE GLOBE AND MAIL
RAVES ABOUT,
AND SUDDENLY NINE THEATRES
PRODUCE THE NEXT YEAR, AND
THEN NO ONE EVER HEARS OF
AGAIN, WILL EXIST
20 YEARS FROM NOW?

R.H. says IT REALLY COMES DOWN TO
ACTUALLY WRITING ABOUT A TRUTH.
AND IF YOU ARE WRITING ABOUT
SOMETHING TO ENTERTAIN
SOMEONE, NOT THAT WE SHOULDN'T
ENTERTAIN, OR WRITING TO GIVE
SOMEONE A PLEASANT
EVENING OF ESCAPE.
THESE ARE WONDERFUL THINGS.
PEOPLE WILL PAY FOR ESCAPE.
GO TO THE MIDWAY
TO PAY FOR ESCAPE.
BUT NONE OF THOSE WILL LAST
BECAUSE THEY DON'T HAVE THE
KERNEL OF VITALITY, OR THE
KERNEL OF LOOKING AT SOMETHING
CLEARLY AND HARDLY IN A VERY
DEEPLY STIMULATING WAY.
NONE OF THEM HAVE THAT.
AND THAT'S WHY THEY
WILL NEVER LAST.
THE PLAYS WE DIG OUT OF THE
PAST, FROM THE 19th CENTURY,
18th CENTURY, 17th CENTURY,
ARE NOT THE ESCAPISTS' PIECES.
THEY ARE THE PLAYS THAT
ACTUALLY PICK SOMETHING ABOUT
PEOPLE, ABOUT SITUATIONS,
ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS, POLITICS,
AND SHOW THEM IN A KIND
OF UNCOMFORTABLE TRUTH.
AND THAT'S WHY THEY LAST.
SO IF WE DON'T WRITE
ANY OF THAT STUFF NOW,
IF THE BOARDS OF DIRECTORS
DON'T WANT ANY OF THAT STUFF,
NONE OF IT'S
GOING TO BE REDONE.

Richard says LISTENING TO YOU TALKING
ABOUT THEATRE, IT'S SOMETHING
YOU HAVE THE FEELING
IT'S INSIDE YOUR PORES.
THIS PASSION COMES THERE.

R.H. says STORY TELLING IS INSIDE.

Richard says STORY TELLING IS INSIDE.
WHERE DID THIS ALL
START WITH YOU?
I WAS TOLD I SHOULD DROP
A NAME AT YOU FROM YOUR
ADOLESCENCE, WHICH
IS ROY CLIFTON.

R.H. says AH, ROY CLIFTON,
THERE YOU GO.
ABSOLUTELY.
ROY CLIFTON WAS THE LIBRARIAN.
HE RAN THE DRAMA CLUB.
HE WAS A CONSCIENTIOUS
OBJECTOR DURING WORLD WAR II.
HE WORKED IN MENTAL
ASYLUMS AND ON FARMS.
WE CALLED HIM THE BEAK BECAUSE
HE HAD AN ENORMOUS NOSE.
HE WAS ONE OF THOSE STUNNING,
ECCENTRIC TEACHERS THAT
EVERYONE, ALL THE KIDS HATED,
EXCEPT FOR A SMALL CREW.
RAN THE DRAMA CLUB,
RAN THE LIBRARY CLUB.
IN THE LATE '50s IN RICHMOND
HILL, HE HAD THE CHILDREN,
THE KIDS IN HIGH SCHOOL, RENT
THE LOCAL CINEMA ONCE A MONTH
AND PUT ON BRAZILIAN FILMS,
CZECHOSLOVAKIAN FILMS, RUSSIAN
FILMS, CHINESE FILMS, AND
HE CALLED IT 'FILMS OF NOTE'.
DO YOU BELIEVE THAT?
IN ONTARIO IN 1959, TO
HAVE THAT KIND OF --
WELL, OBVIOUSLY A STIMULUS,
AND RAN AGAINST THE GRAIN
ALL THE TIME BECAUSE
HE WAS SO SENT UP.

Richard says YOU MENTIONED HE HAD BEEN A
CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTOR, AS WELL.
THIS WHOLE POLITICS AND ART
DYNAMISM THAT YOU THRIVE ON TO
THIS DAY, DID SOME OF
THAT COME FROM HIM?

R.H. says I DON'T KNOW.
I THINK IT CAME FROM MY FATHER
WHO WAS A BIT OF AN... NOT
AN ECCENTRIC, BUT A FIERCELY
INDEPENDENT MIND, WHO RAN
AGAINST THE GRAIN IN HIS LIFE.
IT COMES IN ME FROM BOTH A
WORSHIP AND A REVERENCE FOR
DEMOCRACY, WHICH I
THINK WE'RE LOSING.
AND A REAL CONCERN FOR
INDEPENDENCE WHICH WE'RE LOSING.
INDEPENDENT POINTS OF VIEW.
AND I DIDN'T REALIZE IT FULLY.
I SORT OF PLAYED WITH ALL THE
IDEAS, BUT DIDN'T REALIZE IT
FULLY UNTIL I STARTED READING
FOR THE AUTHORS' FESTIVAL.
BLESS GREG GATENBY.
AND WHEN YOU READ A WRITER
FROM NAMIBIA, OR A WRITER FROM
MANCHURIA, OR A WRITER
FROM, YOU KNOW, SOMEPLACE...
UZBEKISTAN, AND YOU UNDERSTAND
HOW TOTALLY INDEPENDENT OF
MIND THEY ARE, AND WHAT THEY
ARE PUTTING ON THE PAGE,
TALKING ABOUT THE VITAL
CENTRE THAT WILL ENDURE,
THEY PUT UTTER
INDEPENDENCE OF MIND.
NOT TIED TO A GENDER POINT
OF VIEW, OR A POLITICAL POINT
OF VIEW, OR A HUMANIST
SOCIALIST POINT OF VIEW.
HOWEVER MANY POINTS OF VIEW,
THEY ARE ALL ATTACHED, AND IT
MADE ME REALIZE HOW ATTACHED
MOST OF OUR DIALOGUE IS NOW,
IN NORTH AMERICA.
ATTACHED TO CONSUMERISM, OR
THE MARKET, OR POLITICS, OR
GENDER POLITICS, OR DISEASE
POLITICS, OR WHATEVER,
AND THERE IS LITTLE
INDEPENDENCE LEFT.
AND I THINK THAT'S A
HIGHLY VALUABLE QUALITY.

Richard says DO YOU FIND THAT IN CANADA?
VERY LITTLE INDEPENDENCE?

R.H. says OH, YEAH.
READ THE PAPERS.
THE SUN.
WE KNOW WHAT
THE SUN
IS
GOING TO SAY ABOUT EVERYTHING.
READ
THE GLOBE.
IT'S A MOUTHPIECE FOR BIG
BUSINESS, WITH THE ODD
EXCEPTIONAL COLUMN,
BUT THEY DUMPED MOST OF
THE OTHER COLUMNS.
READ
THE STAR.
LIBERAL PAPER, BANANA ADS.
LOOK AT CONRAD BLACK.
HE'S NOT TAKING OVER 43
PERCENT OF THE NEWSPAPERS IN
THIS COUNTRY TO HAVE A WIDE
DIVERSITY OF INDEPENDENT
POINT OF VIEW.
OF COURSE NOT.
HE'S PUSHING AN ATTACHED POINT
OF VIEW BY PARACHUTING IN HIS
WRITERS ACROSS THE COUNTRY.
THIS IS... I MEAN, LOOK --
WELL, LOOK AT TELEVISION.
LOOK AT TELEVISION.
LET'S TALK ABOUT
PUBLIC TELEVISION
OR PRIVATE TELEVISION.
BECAUSE PRIVATE TELEVISION
IS ATTACHED POINTS OF VIEW.
CTV, GLOBAL, CITY, THEY ALL
HAVE ATTACHED POINTS OF VIEW
TO CERTAIN THINGS.

Richard says DO YOU PUT CBC IN THERE NOW?

R.H. says CBC IS, I PUT THAT IN THERE
NOW BECAUSE LESS SO THAN THE
OTHERS BECAUSE THEY DO HAVE
SOME PUBLIC INDEPENDENCE WITH
PUBLIC MONEY, AS DOES TVO, BUT
THEY HAVE LESS INDEPENDENCE
BECAUSE THEY RELY SO MUCH
ON WHATEVER 400 MILLION dollars OF
COMMERCIAL ADVERTISING
THEY LOOK FOR EVERY YEAR.
BUT THE POINT IS, THE PEOPLE
GOING TO THE THEATRES, I SAY,
WELL, THERE'S NOT THE VITALITY
IN THE CULTURE ANYMORE.
AND THERE IS NOT THE APPETITE
FOR INDEPENDENCE IN OUR
CULTURE ANYMORE.
WE'RE IN A WEAK, COMPLACENT
TIME, AS FAR AS I CAN SEE.

Richard says SO DO YOU THINK, EVEN IF
PEOPLE ARE SPEAKING FROM A
POLITICAL POINT OF VIEW, THEY
BECOME SO AGENDA-DRIVEN THAT
THEY REALLY DON'T LOOK INTO
THEIR OWN SOULS AND SEE WHAT
THEY HAVE TO SAY?

R.H. says YUP.
YES.
UNCOMFORTABLE AS THAT IS
BECAUSE I LIKE A GOOD
POLITICAL POINT OF VIEW,
MYSELF, AS WE SHOULD HAVE,
ALL, THERE IS A LACK OF
INDEPENDENCE, EVEN IN SOME OF
THE POINTS OF VIEW THAT I
REPRESENT BECAUSE YOU ARE
ATTACHED TO SOMETHING.
BUT THAT DOESN'T MEAN
DON'T FIGHT FOR THE TRUTH.
FIGHT FOR EQUAL RIGHTS,
GENDER RIGHTS, DA, DA, DA.
FIGHT FOR ALL THOSE THINGS.

Richard says IT'S INTERESTING
YOU MENTION THAT.
SOMETHING I'D ALWAYS
WANTED TO ASK YOU.
I MEAN, I'VE KNOWN YOU FOR
YEARS, AND I'VE HEARD YOU TAKE
POLITICAL STANDS, BUT I WANTED
TO ASK, WHAT CONSTITUTES
R.H. THOMSON'S POLITICS,
PERSONAL POLITICS?

R.H. says I SUPPOSE THERE'S THREE
BRANDS THAT I WOULD DIE FOR.
DEMOCRACY, INDEPENDENCE,
AND COMPASSION.
AND THOSE ARE THE
THREE ROPES OF MY LIFE.
I DON'T UNDERSTAND THE
COMPASSIONATE ACT.
I'M ASTOUNDED WHERE
IT COMES FROM.
AND I'M ALWAYS MOVED WHEN I
READ, OR SOME WAY EXPERIENCE
AN ACT OF TRUE COMPASSION.
I JUST DON'T KNOW
WHERE THAT COMES FROM.
AND IT'S A STUNNINGLY
POWERFUL FORCE.
DEMOCRACY BECAUSE SO MANY
PEOPLE HAVE DIED, FOR 2,000
YEARS, TO GIVE US THIS
MEASURE OF FLAWED DEMOCRACY,
WHICH WE HAVE AT THE
MOMENT, WHICH THE HARRIS
GOVERNMENT IS NOW ABUSING.
AND INDEPENDENCE BECAUSE
IT'S LIKE OXYGEN.
INDEPENDENCE OF MIND AND
EMOTION IS LIKE OXYGEN.
AND IF YOU DON'T
HAVE IT, YOU WITHER.
AND I THINK WE'RE WITHERING.

Richard says SO YOU THINK YOUR OWN WAY.
I'M THINKING OF A NIETZSCHE
QUOTE, AS YOU HEAR, HE SAID,
CONVICTIONS ARE LIKE PRISONS.
THEY CAN KEEP LIGHT
AND AIR OUT OF LIFE.
AND YOU DON'T WANT TO
FOLLOW ANY ONE PATH.

R.H. says I HOPE NOT.
I DON'T BELONG TO
A POLITICAL PARTY.
THERE'S A FEW I
DON'T SEND MONEY TO.
WE'RE BEING VERY NOBLE.
WE'RE TALKING POLITICS, WE'RE
TALKING BELIEF AND COMPASSION
AND THIS, BUT I ALSO, YOU
DID SAID ONCE, 'COME ON', TO AN
INTERVIEWER WHO WAS GOING ON
ABOUT THIS, AND YOU SAID,
'LET'S NOT GET TOO AIRY FAIRY.
EVERYBODY HAS HIS PRICE.
THEY JUST HAVEN'T
NAMED MINE YET'.

Richard says NOW, ROBERT, I WANT
TO GO BACK TEN YEARS.

R.H. says OH, YOU'VE GOT SOME
DIRT ON ME, RICHARD.

Richard says I WANT TO GO BACK TO WHEN YOU
WERE ON
MOONLIGHTING
WITH
CYBILL SHEPHERD.

R.H. says THEY DIDN'T PAY
ME NEARLY ENOUGH.

Richard says WEREN'T YOU SUPPOSED
TO BE A REGULAR ON THAT?
WASN'T THAT THE SCENARIO WE
HEARD BOOTED AROUND, THAT YOU
WERE GOING TO GO DOWN AND
BECOME THE NEW ROMANTIC TV STAR
OPPOSITE CYBILL, AND JUST KIND
OF WIPE BRUCE WILLIS' CLOCK?

R.H. says BRUCE WILLIS' WHAT?

Richard says CLOCK.

[laughing]

Richard says WHAT HAPPENED?
HOW WAS THE EXPERIENCE LIKE?

R.H. says I GOT A GREAT DENTAL PLAN
FOR TWO YEARS OUT OF IT.
THE PAY WAS NOT THAT
GREAT, BUT IT WAS GOOD.
STILL GET LITTLE TINY
RESIDUAL CHEQUES FOR 38 dollars.
EVERY TRIP I'VE MADE DOWN
THERE HAS MADE ME UNDERSTAND
HOW MUCH I DON'T REALLY
WANT TO BE PART OF IT.
I GUESS THAT'S IT.
THERE'S DOWNSIZING, THERE'S
FIRING, DOWNSIZING AND
RIGHT SIZING.
RIGHT SIZING.
I HAD A VERY EGO RIGHT
SIZING EXPERIENCE.
THEY WROTE ME INTO
A SECOND EPISODE.
I THOUGHT, MY GOD, MY HEAD,
HOLLYWOOD, HERE I COME.
AND I WAS THE GYNECOLOGIST
FOR CYBILL SHEPHERD, OKAY?
AND I'M ON THE COVER OF
THE
GLOBE TABLOID
BESIDE EVERY
MARS BAR IN NORTH
AMERICA FOR A WEEK.
I WAS AT THE TOP OF
THE ROLLER COASTER.
AND THEY WROTE ME
INTO A SECOND EPISODE.
I HAD A COUPLE OF SCENES.
AND MY LAST SCENE WAS
IN THE DOCTOR'S OFFICE,
MY
OFFICE.
OKAY, FINE.
SO I DRIVE INTO THE LOT, YOU
KNOW, 8:30 IN THE MORNING,
LOT 21, WHATEVER IT IS.
WE SHOOT THE SCENE, AND IT'S
WITH CYBILL, AND THE LADY
PLAYING CYBILL'S
MOTHER AND MYSELF.
IT'S A LARGE EXPENSIVE SET.
FOUR WALLS, FANCY CARPET,
ALL THE REST OF IT.
OKAY, SO SHOOT THE
WIDE SHOT, FINE.
OVER MY SHOULDER.
SHOOT THE LOOSE WIDE OF THEM,
THE MEDIUM OF THEM, LOOSE
SINGLE OF EACH OF THEM.
TIGHT SINGLE OF EACH OF THEM.
THANK YOU, Mr. THOMSON,
GO BACK TO YOUR TRAILER.
WE'LL TURN AROUND, AND
THEN WE'LL SHOOT YOU.
SO I DISAPPEAR, GO
BACK TO MY TRAILER.
I WAIT 'TIL ABOUT 11 O'CLOCK.
I WAIT, WAIT, WAIT.
LUNCH TIME.
NOTHING.
Mr. THOMSON, YOU MIGHT
AS WELL TAKE LUNCH.
SO I GO AND TAKE LUNCH.
GO SIT IN MY TRAILER.
3 O'CLOCK,
4 O'CLOCK, 5 O'CLOCK.
GOING, HMM.
SO 5 O'CLOCK I THOUGHT I
BETTER GO SEE WHAT'S GOING ON.
IT'S BEEN FOUR OR
FIVE HOURS HERE.
SO I GO BACK TO SET NUMBER
21, THERE'S NOTHING THERE.
NO SET, NOTHING.
EGO...
OH, NO, Mr. THOMSON,
WE'RE DOING YOUR CLOSE-UP.
IT'LL BE ON SOUND STAGE 18.
SO I TROD ALONG
TO SOUND STAGE 18.
SHOOT MY CLOSE-UP.
ONE WALL, NO SET, NO
FURNITURE, NO CARPET,
AND NO ACTORS.
IT'S CALLED RIGHT
SIZING MY EGO.
SO I CAME HOME.

Richard says SO YOU KNEW YOU'D
COME BACK TO TORONTO.

R.H. says NO, IT WAS MORE OR LESS
LIVING DOWN THERE AND BEING
SENT OUT FOR THE
LONI ANDERSON SHOW.
AS MUCH AS SHE'S A LOVELY
LADY, I DON'T THINK I WANT TO
SPEND MY CAREER DOING THAT.

Richard says NOW, EVEN WITH THE TV WORLD
UP HERE, YOU'VE DONE A LOT OF
GREAT STARRING
ROLES IN TV DRAMAS.
YOU'VE DISCOVERED INSULIN.
YOU'VE WON AWARDS.
EXCEPT FOR
ROAD TO AVONLEA,
WHERE YOU WERE AROUND BEING
JASPER, THE ECCENTRIC, KIND OF
CAPON LIKE PHOTOGRAPHER FOR A
LONG TIME IN THE BACKGROUND,
YOU HAVEN'T DONE YOUR
STREET LEGAL, RIGHT,
OR YOUR
SIDE EFFECTS,
OR YOUR
KING OF KENSINGTON.
HAVE YOU WANTED TO?

R.H. says EPISODICS ARE A
DOUBLE-EDGED SWORD.
THEY FEED YOUR BANKBOOK AND
FEED YOUR CHILDREN WITH ONE
SIDE OF THE SWORD.
ON THE OTHER SIDE, THEY
CUT YOU INTO A PROFILE.
THEY CUT YOU INTO A TYPE.
AND THE ACTOR PART OF ME, AS
OPPOSED TO THE PERFORMER PART
OF ME HAS BEEN VERY
SUSPICIOUS OF THEM.
SO I NEVER HAD A
CONTRACT WITH SULLIVAN.
BLESS HIS HEART, AND HE LIVED
WITH THAT, TO PLAY THE SAME
TYPE IN PEOPLE'S LIVING ROOMS
FOR FIVE, SIX, SEVEN YEARS,
REDUCES YOUR FLEXIBILITY AS
AN ACTOR, AND I'VE ALWAYS
VALUED ACTUALLY PLAYING
MANY STORIES IN ME,
AND NOT JUST ONE STORY.
SO I'VE TRIED, IF I COULD,
NOT TO OFFEND ANYONE,
BY NOT DOING THEM.
THOUGH, OF COURSE, IF YOU'RE
STARVING, YOU ARE GOING TO
DO ANYTHING.

Richard says IS THERE ONE THEY COULD CREATE
THAT WOULD APPEAL TO YOU?

R.H. says WE CAME VERY CLOSE WITH
JAKE AND THE KID.
I WAS ABOUT READY TO SIGN
WITH GLOBAL AND NELVANA
FOR
JAKE AND THE KID.
BECAUSE I THOUGHT, IF THERE
EVER WAS A CANADIAN SERIES AND
A CANADIAN SET OF STORIES
THAT I WOULD REALLY TRULY
IN MY HEART LOVE TO
DO IT WOULD BE THAT ONE.
THEN THEY PULLED THE CONTRACT,
TEN DAYS BEFORE THEY SHOT.
THEY PULLED IT ON ME.
I COULDN'T SUE THEM.
IT WAS A DISASTER.

Richard says HEARING YOU TALK, YOU HAVE
STRONG IDEAS, YOU HAVE STRONG
BELIEFS, ONLY ONCE HAVE YOU
BEEN TEMPTED INTO THE POSITION
OF RUNNING A THEATRE, WHICH
WAS THE DU MAURIER WORLD
THEATRE FESTIVAL IN 1992.
DO YOU THINK YOU'D
WANT TO DO THIS AGAIN?

R.H. says OH, YEAH.
NO, I CAN'T WAIT.
I WOULD WAIT 'TIL MY
CHILDREN GREW UP, THOUGH.
BECAUSE YOU RUN A
THEATRE, AS YOU KNOW,
YOU MARRY THE THEATRE.
AND IT DOESN'T WORK UNLESS
YOU MARRY THE THEATRE.
AND MY CHILDREN AND MY WIFE
ARE TOO VALUABLE FOR ME AT THE
MOMENT TO SACRIFICE
THEM ON THAT ALTAR.
BUT THEN I DON'T THINK
MY VISIONS FIT AT ALL
WITH WHAT'S BEING
DONE OUT THERE.

Richard says OKAY, YOU MENTION THAT.
YOU SIT HERE, AND YOU HAVE A
CERTAIN PASSION, AND YOU RANT,
BUT WOULD YOU CLIMB
OVER THE BARRICADES?
WOULD YOU SAY, DAMMIT, NO,
THIS IS HOW I WANT A THEATRE
TO RUN, AND YOU'RE GOING
TO RUN IT THAT WAY?

R.H. says YEAH.
NO, I THINK I WOULD.
I LIKE WRITERS TOO MUCH.
I LIKE THE STORY TELLING
ASPECT TOO MUCH.
I THINK STORY TELLING IS
SUCH A VITAL PART OF US.
IT'S A METAPHOR THAT SITS
THERE WE DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT.
BUT THE METAPHOR HAS AN
INCREDIBLE POWER TO IT.
JOKE TELLING IS ANOTHER
METAPHOR THAT SITS THERE.
YOU DON'T EVEN THINK, WHAT IS
THIS FORM CALLED THE JOKE?
IT SITS THERE AS THIS
ENORMOUSLY POWERFUL METAPHOR
THAT SPEAKS TO US, AS
DOES STORY TELLING.
I LIVE IN A WORLD WHERE I
THINK HOCKEY IS TOO GREAT A
GAME TO BE LEFT IN THE HANDS
OF THE NHL, AND STORY TELLING
IS FAR TOO GREAT A FUNCTION
TO BE LEFT IN THE HANDS
OF HOLLYWOOD.
BECAUSE THE COMMERCIALIZATIONS
OF BOTH THOSE SKILLS HAVE
DOWNGRADED EXACTLY
WHAT'S GOING ON.
EVERYONE'S ENTIRELY WELL PAID,
WHETHER YOU ARE SHOOTING
PUCKS IN A HOCKEY ARENA, OR
WHETHER YOU ARE ACTING IN AN
AMERICAN TV MOVIE.
THE BUCKS ARE FLYING LIKE MAD.
BUT WE'VE LOST THE FORM OF
BOTH THOSE THINGS, THE GAME
PLAYING, AND THE STORY
TELLING, THEY'RE JUST FLYING
OUT THE WINDOW.
HONESTLY, IF YOU GO TO AN NHL
HOCKEY GAME, MOST OF THE GUYS
BEHIND THE BENCH ARE
MULTIMILLIONAIRES AND MORE.
YOU'D THINK, WITH ALL THOSE
MILLIONAIRES SITTING ON EITHER
SIDES PLAYING EACH OTHER,
YOU'D HAVE A GREAT GAME.
WELL, YOUR CHANCES OF SEEING A
GREAT GAME, WHEN YOU GO TO AN
NHL ARENA, IS ABOUT ONE IN
TWENTY, AS FAR AS I CAN SEE.
AND YOU GO, WELL, THERE'S SO
MUCH MONEY KICKING AROUND HERE.
THESE ARE THE BEST
TALENTS IN THE WORLD.
WHY ISN'T IT A GREAT GAME?
AND SOMETHING'S
HAPPENED TO IT.
SIMILARLY, IN HOLLYWOOD,
WHICH HAVE THE ROLE OF BEING
GLOBAL, POPULAR STORY
TELLERS, OF ALL THE MONEY
FLOWING DOWN THERE, OF ALL
THE 400-ODD FILMS KICKED A
YEAR OUT OF THAT PLACE, HOW
MANY DO YOU GO TO WITH ALL
THAT MONEY, AND ALL THAT
EXPERTISE FROM ALL OVER THE
WORLD, HOW MANY OF THOSE
400 DO YOU GO TO AND GO,
THIS IS A GREAT FILM?
YES, YOU DO SEE SOME.
AND. YES, THERE ARE VERY
TALENTED PEOPLE DOWN THERE.
BUT YOU WOULD THINK, WITH ALL
THAT TALENT, ALL THAT MONEY,
THERE WOULD BE A MUCH
HIGHER SUCCESS RATE.
BECAUSE WHAT'S BEING DONE TO
HOCKEY IS THE SAME THING BEING
DONE TO STORY
TELLING IN HOLLYWOOD.
THEY HAVE CHILLING
SIMILARITIES FOR ME.

Richard says BUT DO YOU THINK HOCKEY,
OBVIOUSLY... IS THAT CORRUPT
HERE NOW?

R.H. says I'M NOT SAYING
CORRUPT, RICHARD.
I'M SAYING ITS FUNCTION,
THEY'VE NOT UNDERSTOOD THE
FUNCTION OF THE GAME ANYMORE.
THAT, IN FACT, IF YOU
GO WATCH KIDS PLAYING
ON SATURDAY MORNING -- I MEAN,
IT'S A TERRIBLE THING TO SAY --
AT THE RINK, THEIR SPIRIT
AND JOY IN PLAYING THE GAME,
AND HOW THE METAPHOR OF THE
GAME COMES THROUGH THEM
IN TERMS OF ENERGY AND VITALITY,
AND ALL THE REST OF IT IS,
IN FACT, MORE EXCITING THAN
SEEING THE MILLIONAIRES PLAY
DOWN AT MAPLE LEAF GARDENS.
I'M A HOCKEY FAN, AND A DIE
HARD TORONTO FROM WHATEVER.
BUT THE LEVEL OF PLAY, AND THE
LEVEL OF SPIRIT IS GONE FROM
MOST OF THE GAMES.
YES, YOU SEE IT AT SOME.
YES, YOU SEE A DETROIT RED
WINGS TEAM SOMETIMES THAT ARE
JUST PURE MAGIC.
AND YOU GO, YES, I UNDERSTAND
WHY THIS IS A GREAT GAME.
BUT THE EXPANSION
AND THE MONEY AND THE
COMMERCIALIZATION AND THE SORT
OF SUGAR FROSTIES PUT ON THE
GAME HAVE NOT IMPROVED
THE GAME OF HOCKEY.
SIMILARLY, ALL THAT PUT ON THE
ART OF STORY TELLING THROUGH
HOLLYWOOD, HAS NOT IMPROVED
THE ART OF STORY TELLING.
IT'S IMPROVED THE CHASES,
THE BLOW-UPS, YOU KNOW,
IT'S CHASED ALL THE
SPECTACLE BITS OF IT.
BUT THE CORE OF IT, THE STORY
TELLING PART HAS GOTTEN
WEAKER AND WEAKER AND WEAKER.
WELL, THERE COMES A TRUE
AUTHOR, CALLED MICHAEL
ONDAATJE, WHO WALKS ALONG, WHO
HAS TRUE AUTHORSHIP IN HIS
LOINS, AND COMES UP WITH THIS
EXTRAORDINARY FILM CALLED
THE ENGLISH PATIENT, WHICH
JUST KNOCKS THEM OVER.
WITH ALL THE MONEY THEY HAVE
DOWN THERE, THEY ARE KNOCKED
OVER BY THIS ONE GUY FROM
TORONTO AND THIS SINGLE,
INDEPENDENT FILM.
DOESN'T THAT SAY SOMETHING
ABOUT THE INDUSTRY?

Richard says IT ALSO SAYS, ROBERT, IF I
HAD MY WAY, YOU WOULD BE
IN CHARGE OF THE NHL, MOST OF
OUR TELEVISION AND MOVIES,
AND OUR THEATRE.
BUT FOR THE TIME BEING, I'LL
BE CONTENT TO SAY, KEEP DOING
WHAT YOU ARE DOING, AND THANK
YOU FOR COMING HERE TODAY.

R.H. says THANKS, RICHARD.

Richard says THANKS A LOT.

He faces the screen and concludes
FOR
DIALOGUE, I'M
RICHARD OUZOUNIAN.
GOOD-BYE FOR NOW.

Music plays as the end slate reads “Dialogue.”

A production of TVOntario. Copyright 1997, The Ontario Educational Communications Authority.

Watch: RH Thomson