In the wake of controversy surrounding Walterdale Playhouse’s production of Othello, which was cancelled after numerous complaints and threats by minorities, the Old Strathcona drama company has announced its 2017/18 season rollout will include a production designed to ruffle feathers, among other things.
The season will start this September with George Orwell’s political classic Animal Farm, but instead of bona fide humans, the cast will consist entirely of farm animals.
One paranoid employee at the Walterdale said that the unique casting for Animal Farm is another chance to rub salt into the sensitive PC wounds of the Edmonton theatre community. In January, the emotionally-volatile arts scene railed against the Walterdale over its decision to place a white woman in the lead for Othello, which was axed earlier in February.
“We’ve already received several complaints from the Alberta Workers’ Health Centre,” said the Walterdale employee. “They’re telling us that the Animal Farm casting decision has already started to infuriate actors who can’t land any theatre work in the city.”
“It’s bad enough when a company chooses white actors for roles that are better served for portrayal by a minority performer,” said an AWHC employee. “Now here’s a case of one theatre group turning its backs on actors by bringing in animals they don’t have to worry about paying!”
Not surprisingly, the Walterdale has also been on the receiving end of irate responses from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which stated that Walterdale’s Animal Farm production is a grotesque example of animal abuse.
“That one really stung,” said the employee. “I mean, with this city already pushing for political correctness, there’s no point in offering edgy theatre these days.”
PETA has also threatened to take action against Walterdale, even if Animal Farm is also cancelled. Said a PETA spokesman, “We’re quite aware of the possibility that the Walterdale, should they also pull the plug on the show, will cook and serve the animals as comfort food to alleviate the staff’s sorrows.”