The #MeToo movement of women and men speaking out against the men they say have sexually abused them is having far-reaching reverberations.
It’s recently touched Qualicum Beach, where the ECHO Players have decided not to perform the play My Old Lady by famous playwright Israel Horovitz due to the allegations of sexual misconduct and rape described by nine women in a New York Times story.
Some of the sexual misconduct allegations come from women who were 16 years old at the time.
My Old Lady, originally a film written and directed by Horovitz and released in 2014, was to be the ECHO Players’ last play of the year, and the play they had planned to take to the North Island Zone 2018 theatre festival in May, said ECHO Players president Rose Knabb.
“ECHO Players were horrified to learn about the alleged inappropriate sexual behaviour toward multiple women by playwright Israel Horovitz,” reads a note placed in the written program for the Christmas Express (by Pat Cook), which the ECHO Players are currently performing for the winter holidays.
“In response, we could not in good conscience produce his (Horovitz’s) play My Old Lady in our 2017-2018 season. A new play will be announced at a later time. We are saddened by this development but encouraged by these brave women.”
Knabb said the ECHO Players learned of the allegations in late November, and that the full slate of cast members, already selected and getting ready for the run of the play which was to be from April 19-May 6, was polled to see if members wanted to go ahead with the play.
None of the performers, or anyone else involved with the play, wanted to go ahead with it, and the board unanimously voted to withdraw the play, said Knabb.
Now it’s up to the artistic direction committee to come up with a new list of plays for the directors (Lynne Carrow and Sue Murguly) to choose from. However, depending on the play chosen, some or all of the cast may have to be re-selected.
Knabb said the ECHO Players hope to know what the play replacing My Old Lady will be by mid-January.
That doesn’t give theatre members much time to get the production together, “but we have incredible members,” said Knabb.
“(The production) will be in keeping with quality plays that we put on,” she said. “It’s not going to be a scramble.”