I spoke with Raoul Bhaneja as he was producing and starring in “Disgraced.”
The Pulitzer Prize winning play returned to the Panasonic Theatre in Toronto on November 11 after a critically acclaimed run in 2016.
The play deals with faith, politics and the notion of “tolerance.”
The powerful subject matter draws in audiences that, as Bhaneja mentions in the podcast, stay in their seats after the show for heated exchanges in the post-performance “talk backs.”
Bhaneja, an ambitious soul with a “can-do” attitude, is candid about how he overcame the struggles he encountered while trying to land leading roles with established companies by producing his own work. But even then he faced blowback from critics and directors, despite the movement towards “colourblind casting.”
Those struggles were, in part, the impetus behind Bhaneja’s drive to produce and appear in a solo version of Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” that played in New York and London to critical acclaim.
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Brian D. Johnson’s work as a journalist explores art with the insight of not only a passionate observer but also an accomplished artist with a fascination for the human condition.
For almost 30 years Johnson was the staff film critic and Arts writer for Macleans, Canada’s top current affairs magazine. He’s retired from Macleans but continues to submit stories while pursuing his own artistic endeavours.
Brian’s directorial debut, the documentary “Al Purdy Was Here,” is a beautiful piece of work on many levels, I think you’ll really enjoy our chat about the creative process behind it.
We discuss everything from Brian’s easy working relationship with Leonard Cohen to the inspiring story behind the creation of a film celebrating one of Canada’s most prolific poets: Al Purdy.
Incidentally, we recorded last year prior to Leonard Cohen’s passing.
Our conversation begins with the fact that more films than ever are being made in Canada but there are less “Canadian” films.
Al Purdy Was Here website
Al Purdy Was Here on iTunes
The Al Purdy A Frame Association website
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Brian D. Johnson Films website
Words the Literary and Creative Arts Festival: WordsFest.ca