It was pretty sad, and surprising, to wake up to the news of Richard Monette’s death at age 64.
It’s always hard when people die really suddenly. I mean, hard for those left behind, because there was no time to spare, I imagine it’s the best way to die though.
Richard Monette was a pretty amazing guy. I never met the man, but I remember hearing about the things he did at Stratford and being impressed. Don’t get me wrong…
I’m not suddenly trying to say he was a theatre god or anything. He was criticized for being a populous kind of director, going for cheap laughs, putting bums in seats by putting on old standbys, basically, not being ‘artsy’ or ‘avant-garde’ enough. But I actually have no problems with populous theatre. I figure the more stuff people go to and the more they realise that theatre is an enjoyable thing to do, the better.
So, sure, he might not have been as cutting-edge as some would have liked, but lets not forget things like the opening of the Studio theatre. It brought work to Stratford audiences that they likely would not have gone to otherwise. I suspect the average Stratford attendee isn’t the kind of person who goes to Passe Muraille or Tarragon, in fact, I’m betting there are a lot of people for whom Stratford is the only theatre they ever go to.
I also knew a few people who trained at the Birmingham Conservatory acting school and really loved the experience. He really bring in some good changes to Stratford.
So, some may have found him kind of boring, but I hope they also remember these things too.