Producer Ron Robinson picketed the National Cultural Centre on Tuesday over the decision to reschedule Link Show 25, which he said still hangs in limbo.
Since no new date has been given for the local satirical production to be staged, Robinson said, it appears as though an ‘element’ is at work. But the show must go on, according to him, even if it means waging a one-man war.
Though he submitted the script a day late after receiving an extension from the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, Robinson said, the resulting dismissive attitude of the manager of the NCC was utterly unfair. He said the arbitrary actions of Manager Fredrick Christian signify a severe blow to local arts.
Outfitted with his rain gear and carrying several placards, Robinson turned up promptly for the peaceful picketing exercise along with actor Henry Rodney at 11 am. The two carried placards that read, “Christian in name only”, “Pompous Christian pomping a scene” and “NCC manager should leave drama to dramatist”.
Rodney who has been a part of the Link Show since its debut a quarter of a century ago, told Stabroek News that he supports Robinson and his cause.
He said when one person in the industry is affected the whole industry is affected, adding that for far too long local producers, actors and directors have been treated with scant regard.
“The cultural centre is the people’s place, it is our place denying us a spot is equivalent to saying no to the public. I urged Mr. Christian to leave the drama to us actors and to resolve this issue in a timely manner,” Rodney stated.
Stabroek News contacted Christian for a comment on the issue. He contended that Robinson’s picket on the grounds of the NCC was unlawful and then he declined to comment. However, he said that if Robinson wanted to conduct his affairs in the media then he could but noted that he [Christian] was not going to.
This newspaper saw correspondence between Christian, Robinson and Culture Minister Frank Anthony since October 1 when the local producer wrote the minister requesting permission to submit the Link Show script late owing to prior commitments with the production of Miriamy, Carifesta and GuyExpo.
Several days later Christian wrote Robinson informing him of the change in schedule since he had missed the extended date of submission.
“This deplorable situation certainly leaves much to be desired and given the sensitive satirical nature of the intended dramatic presentation adequate time must be given to the reading committee of the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport to review the scripts. Undoubtedly, as an experienced producer you are quite familiar with the latter as a long-standing pre-condition for the staging of dramatic presentations at the National Cultural Centre,” Christian wrote.
Robinson then wrote the minister outlining what had happened with respect to the script. He noted in the letter that this was the first time in 25 years that the Link Show would be prohibited by the ministry, through the Administrative Manager of the National Cultural Centre. He added that the Theatre Company will no longer use the facilities of the NCC if an alternative is available as long as Christian remains at the helm.