Monday, August 11, 2014

Canada: Moving Forward

Saturday, August 9, 2014
Mixed feelings this morning. We're in the car heading for Montreal. It's about a 7-3/4 hr. drive from Stratford.
On one hand, I'm looking forward to revisiting Montreal, speaking some French, but, we've had such an amazing theatre immersion.
Plays we saw:
"Christina, the Girl King", by contemporary Canadian playright, Michael Marc Bouchard (with excellent translation by Linda Gaboriau)
"The Beaux Stratagem", a magnificent comedy, by George Farquhar.
"King Lear", by The Bard, starring Colm Feore.
"Alice Through the Looking Glass", by Lewis Carroll, adapted for stage by James Reaney.
"King John", by William Shakespeare, starring Tom McCamus.
"Crazy for You", the New Gershwin Musical, music and lyrics by George and Ira Gershwin, book by Ken Ludwig.
"King Lear", acted by The Queen's Company", starring our Granddaughter, Natalie Lynch - and her class of 21 young actors.
"Man of La Mancha", written by Dale Wasserman, music by Mitch Leigh, Lyrics by Joe Darion.
That is a lot of theatre for 6 days!!!!
I managed to do 5 paintings: one landscape (overtop an old painting). Not a great painting, but a good warmup; and four lily pond paintings - three of which I can frame immediately!
We had some interesting and delicious meals at Mercer Hall, Stratford Thai Cuisine, a beautiful chickpea with fresh veggies and mustard sandwich from Canadian Grub, nice salads from Bentley's and Molly Blooms, one beautiful British Columbian whiskey called Revelstoke (Bentley's), and a delightful Dillon's Canadian Gin, plus a magnificent Australian Sauvignon Blanc (Mercer Hall). One evening by the Avon River, we shared two chunks of cheese, recommended by the frommageur, (French soft one from Basse Normanie & a hard Italian) and complimented with a few dried dates, plus baguette.
We stayed in two B&B's: The Knight's Inn, run by Michael, from Surrey, England via Toronto. Michael is subtle, but able to deliver just the perfect zinger at the right moment to enliven a conversation. At his B&B, we met three Ohio women, two of whom live within 15 to 30 miles of us, and one who's sister lives in my neighborhood! Two days ago we met two charming and optimistic women from Detroit who took advantage of the $30 bus from Detroit to Stratford.
Our last morning, we lingered over tea at the breakfast table for an engaging 2-1/2 hour chat with our host, and a Canadian couple. Jane started off the conversation by saying how much they "enjoy watching the politics across the border for it's entertaining and mind boggling qualities." Ian was amazed at the cost of our last election process, a staggering $33,000,000,000. Their last election was $300,000,000. 1000x less! That's a lot of zeros. We rambled on about Scottish games, roundabouts,  how easy it is to get into a fight in a pub in England, and let the conversation travel it's easy path to enlightenment.
We changed B&B's and stayed at Curtain Call B&B for one night, with Natalie. The propriortors bought this B&B 8 years ago and have made many rennovations. James is a professional chef, who, for 17 years, once ran his own restaurant in Newfoundland, but his wife, Angie, did the cooking and booking keeping. They are people persons for sure, he directs all the action, serves, chats and tells jokes, and is not shy about throwing in a few cuss words, or giving a bit of cooking instruction. At table with us was a couple from Rochester, NY, who got engaged at this B&B, and have come back for the last 12 years.
Yesterday's Queen's Company performance was amazing, complex, and well acted. The youngest actor was 12, the oldest was, Natalie, at age 14. Lear is heavy drama, with lots of intrigue, sword fighting, and the torturous seen with The Duke of Cornwall cutting out the eyes of The Duke of Gloucester. It doesn't take much in the way of props - a gold trimmed velvet cloak, some makeshift blades, and a mask or two, to spark the imagination.
Now, after 2 hours in the car, we have only done an hours worth of travel. We're caught up in the stop and go traffic on the 401 around Toronto. We are passing an old Quebecor Plant where Martin worked several times in passed years. And I knew that I'd be very sorry that I didn't buy the soundtrack from "Man of La Mancha".

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