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?

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Leo loves Gilda and Gilda loves Leo. Gilda also loves Otto, who loves her but also loves Leo. And Leo loves him. Leo, Gilda and Otto all love Ernest, and he loves them. Or rather, he thinks he does. But the only one he really loves is Gilda, who doesn't actually love him as much as she loves everybody else. In the end, this proves unfortunate for Ernest.
Noel Coward’s Design For Living was pretty hot stuff when it opened in Cleveland in 1932 – the Brokeback Mountain of its time, except that – according to the program notes – American audiences were so naïve they thought a married man couldn’t be homosexual.
Coward wrote the play for himself and his friends Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontaine. Everyone in the theatre world already knew Coward as gay, and Fontaine and Lunt were famous for their on-stage, erotic lovemaking.
Still, it was risky. One critic called it “decadent and unholy.” George Jean Nathan (writing in Vanity Fair) said the wit was stale and Coward’s philosophy “shallow as gin in a drained martini glass.” It worked, though, and the audiences loved it. Human audiences, that is. Bao slept through all three acts. But dogs are naturally open-minded, and tolerant of one another. Maybe that’s why they don’t bother writing plays.
The Shaw Festival is smaller than its Stratford counterpart, but it’s basically the same idea: A single company staging an annual cycle of plays (limited here to works by Shaw and his contemporaries) in three theatres. I’d say just about everyone at the B&B has come for the Festival.
Niagara on the Lake is slightly bigger than Stratford, and there appears to be a bit more to do. The shops and galleries are crammed full of gorgeous, expensive things. There are horse and carriage rides through the town, and tours of the regional wineries, and boat rides on Lake Ontario. And of course, Niagara Falls is just down the road.
Here’s our B&B, and Bao doing breakfast. I found WiFi.


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