Chairman Bao is a Shih Tzu. We travel a lot. I drive. He watches. We've logged at least 10,000 miles and he's never once said, Sweetheart, don't you think you should stop and ask someone?

Saturday, July 22, 2006

A day at the Stratford Festival, just so you know. Up early for Meet the Festival, an on-going event in which two actors from the company sit on folding chairs on a bare stage in a small theatre and answer questions from the audience. You soon get a sense of which performers (like Bruce Dow and Laird Mackintosh) you'd like to sit next to some night at dinner. Or not.
On to a Playwright's Circle talk by Stratford Festival Conservatory Director David Latham. Coffee, fruit and muffins. David explained the process in which 1000 aspiring actors apply for a position at the Conservatory each year, of whom 12 are eventually accepted for participation in a 20 week course during which they learn how to read classical texts. Performing classical texts isn't easy. If you don't believe me, take out your Shakespeare, select a longish speech, and try it yourself. Hint: It helps to know the difference between a noun and a verb, and most younger people don't, these days.
Tabletalk is a weekly series of buffet lunches. This one featured an analysis of Much Ado About Nothing by Alan Somerset, Professor of English at the University of Western Ontario. He also wrote the Program Notes for Much Ado. By the way, all of the Festival play programs are well worth keeping, filled as they are with photos, knowledgeable essays and interview transcripts.
After lunch, a quick photo-op in front of the wonderful gardens at Festival Theatre, and then on to a matinee performance of Much Ado About Nothing, which was originally called, Much Ado about Noting. (I didn't know that. Did you?) Noting (pronounced "no thing" in Shakespeare's time) referred to eavesdropping. The costumes were Edwardian, which I found off-putting at first. But the production, like everything else we've seen, was superb, although Bao slept through it. He prefers the history plays.
People are starting to recognize Bao. They come up to us outside the theatre and in the street, just to say hello and give him a scratch behind the ears and tell him what a good, quiet little dog he is. At this point, good, exhausted little dog might be more like it.
After the play, dinner at The Old Prune. (Is this starting to sound like Alan Bennett's diary?) French style, with a four-course Signature Menu by Chef Bryan Steele, each course accompanied by a specially selected wine, hosted by the inimitable Jules and Jo. The Old Prune is internationally famous, and rightly so.
We could have gone to another play, after dinner. People do, but we didn't. We went home, and Bao was asleep before his little head hit the pillow. True confessions -- I wasn't far behind him. I guess I'm not as young as I used to be.


Blogger Dogwalkmusings said...

This is absolutely the most wonderful journey I've never taken!

1:03 PM


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