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?

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Question: What do Beatrice Lillie, William Shatner, Lorne Greene, Mary Pickford and Raymond Massey have in common? Answer: They're all Canadian.
Ben Cartwright? Captain Jim Kirk?
Maybe you already knew this. I didn't. (Neither did Bao) But yesterday morning, among several dozen wonderful ink portraits by Montreal-born Grant MacDonald being exhibited at Gallery Stratford, I found myself looking at a very young William Shatner depicted in his role as a character in Taming of the Shrew at the Festival's 1954 production of the play. Then I learned that Ethel (my friend Jo's sister) attended Continuing Education classes with "Billy" Shatner's mother. I admit it, I was impressed. (Bao says I impress easily. This is true)
Grant MacDonald created many portraits of actors and actresses in and out of character, both here in Stratford and earlier, in New York. In addition to those mentioned above, there were also vivid sketches of theatrical luminaries like Noel Coward, Tallulah Bankhead and Katherine Hepburn on display. My mother would have loved it. MacDonald apparently moved in fabulous circles, and possessed a rare talent. Sadly, like Van Gogh, he died penniless. It makes you wonder, doesn't it?
After lunch we saw "London Assurance" by Dion Boucicault (who, like MacDonald, died in relative obscurity after a scintillating career) It was one of those wonderful, 18th century, campy farces. and starred Brian Bedford as super-fop Sir Harcourt Courtly. Bedford also directed. The sets were absolutely magnificent.
One of the interesting things about the Stratford Festival is that company members play simulataneous roles in several productions, and direct as well as act. For example, Adam O'Byrne (who played Hotspur in Henry IV) also played Sir Harcourt's son Charles. How do you suppose they manage to keep their personas straight?
Bao says it's all concentration. But of course, he's a Shih Tzu.


Blogger Dogwalkmusings said...

What personas? You're at a Shakespeare festival where " All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players" .

1:18 PM


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