An Imperialist Calls.
What did playwright JB Priestley think of Canada when he visited it in the mid-1950s? "My publishers persuaded me one year to do a tour of the country to stimulate book sales, but it was a depressing experience," he said later. "I got the impression that Canadians didn't read too many books."
Still, he wrote a play called The Glass Cage set in Toronto for that city's Crest Theatre. The play then transfered intact to London in 1957 - the first all-Canadian production to play there - where it received a mixed reception (translation: it bombed). Charmingly, Priestley blamed expat Canucks.
"We had hoped all the Canadians in London would support it - what a hope. And here's the difference between Canadians and Australians: About the same time, there was an Australian play put on, [Ray Lawlor's] The Summer of the Seventeenth Doll, quite a good play, but not as good as mine. But all the Australians in London turned out and gave it a good reception. And it ran for months."
The Glass Cage did not. It closed and no one put it on professionally again - in Canada or in the UK.
Until this autumn, that is, when the Royal and Derngate theatre in Northampton (one hour out of London) saved it from obscurity and resurrected it. I went to see it last weekend, which you can read all about in today's Globe and Mail. If you live in Canada, that is - cuz it's not on the 'net.
In short: I think it should be remounted in Canada. Shaw Festival, I'm looking at you, but I think it could really be up Soulpepper's alley, too.