Computer theft baffles local theatre company

Posted Feb 28th, 2013 in In the News

Standard reporter Grant LaFleche

By Grant LaFleche, The Standard


The theft really doesn’t make any sense. There was more expensive equipment someone could have made off with. Computers that could have been fenced for thousands of dollars were untouched.


Instead, the thief took the cheapest item at hand in the Sullivan Mahoney Theatre on King Street. A computer that its owner figures wouldn’t fetch $50 at a pawn shop.


The cheapest item, maybe, but David Fancy said it was still critically important.


“We had more than 100 lighting cues programed in to that computer,” said Fancy, the co-artistic director with neXt Company Theatre of a play called Khalida running this week. “We couldn’t go on without it so we had to turn 70 people away.”


The computer went missing on Wednesday night just before curtain call, Fancy said. The machine, a six-year-old jalopy of a computer, was programed to control lighting during the show. Although they scrambled to try and replace it, there wasn’t time.


“We found a replacement but it was in Niagara-on-the-Lake and it would have taken an hour and half to get it up and running,” Fancy said. “So we had to cancel.”


Khalida, written by Fancy, is a story about a Canadian-Muslim trying to cope with a post 9-11 world where he is looked upon with suspicion merely by virtue of being Muslim.


Fancy, a Brock University professor, said he originally wrote the play for his friend Addil Hussain, now a well known actor in Baghdad.


They met while Hussain was studying at Brock after he fled his native Iraq after the first Gulf War.


“He was Saddam Hussein’s favor actor,” Fancy said. “Saddam basically made him the court jester. He was there to tell jokes.”


After settling in Canada, Hussain tried to find acting jobs, Fancy said, but was only offered roles in the angry-Muslim-terrorist mold. So he returned to a post Saddam Iraq and is doing well, Fancy said.


A replacement computer is up and running and the play is set to finish its run this week, but Fancy remains perplexed by the theft.


“There were $2,000 computers there. A high end video camera,” he said. He’s filed a police report but can only figure the computer was easiest thing for a bandit to quickly carry off, or someone was trying to sabotage the show.


“I don’t think (sabotage) is very likely, but the whole thing is really odd,” he said.


Khalida is being performed Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., with a 2 p.m. matinee on Saturday.


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