Saturday, 28 July 2012

25 Days and Counting

I am going to see A Word or Two in 25 days. It will be a day by myself in beautiful Stratford. A treat, to be sure. A trip to the Exhibition is in store, too.

It's been far too long since I solemnly declared that I was back. It is a busy household in which I live. My younglings in Willy Wonka were fantastic. Luke, as Mr Bucket, and josh, as Charlie Bucket, brought the house down each night with their swinging duet of, "Think Positive.". Or, at least made me cry each show...

Cordelia was an Oompa Loompa. She had that certain je ne sait quoi. Claire, the director, said after most shows, someone invariably would come up to her and say, "Who was the one Oompa...?" "That would be Cordelia." She put her heart into each song each performance. Which is saying something, too, because the week it opened, she had 2 dress rehearsals (ballet included), a preview, show Friday & Saturday night, matinee Sunday then ballet recital Sunday night. I had no idea they were going to be the same weekend. They also had 2 shows Tuesday and Thursdays for the local schools. She rocked it every night.

I became the unofficial photo-documenter of the rehearsal and shows for Willy Wonka. Thousands of pictures. I loved it.

Dakota was also on stage at school. He was in The Music Man and The Laramie Project. I loved both, but Laramie was exceptional. Dakota's best friend at school is lesbian. Her sexuality is not an issue at their school. Awesome. Not so in Laramie. It was heartbreaking.

Braeden also made his flute debut at the spring concert. He has a gift. I can't believe he was only playing since February. I played for year's before I sounded that good.

I became an official photographer for the local SNAP newspaper (Halimand/Norfolk). No pay. No matter. I'm having a blast meeting people, going to social events. My intrepid assistants usually attend with me (younglings). I'm having a blast.

I have been published a few times, too. In yummymummyclub.ca and for TheSilo.ca. Check them out (ie google).

I have been to a few shows in Stratford this season. I wish I lived closer and could go more. So far, I have seen: You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown, Cymbeline, Pirates of Penzance, 42nd Street, Machomer, and Henry V. I can't pick favourites. Sorry. Singing men vs Shakespearean men? That is far too close to call.

But, I love men who can sing.

And recite Shakespeare.

See my issue?

Cymbeline was awe-inspiring. The best fight scene I have seen to date. It was exquisite. Luke and I went to the stage door where Graham Abbey proceeded to give Luke a tour of backstage (and I) including holding the bloodied sword, a cut-off head, and seeing the crew start to change the scenery from one show to the next. We also saw the laundry being taken to the wash. Every part of a production is important. The acting is only what we see.

The kids and I also started a group I've named, Kids4Bard. Where the idea germinated was from Bard on the Bus. They are a travelling group from Driftwood Theatre who visit towns and cities to perform. This year was A Midsummer Night's Dream. My favourite! And Lear.

My idea was/is to take a play and break it down. We started with characters. Then we did scenery. I want them to see something other than the final acting performance.

We read about them and designed costumes based on what we learned. Braeden also designed a now and sword. They looked great.

On our second night, we had 3 others join us: Sharon (one of my midwife co-workers), and 2 of her daughters (one 5, the other over 20 who went to Emily Carr for art). They helped us with our scenery and our paper dolls.

Instead of us acting them out, I thought we'd start just acting with the puppets.

We didn't get done as much as I would have liked, but on July 19, we took or sets (on bristol board), and people that were finished or cut out, to see Driftwood's production. Dakota and Braeden volunteered as ushers. We added another child to our numbers, too. It was great.

The show was spectacular. It was a musical. A brilliantly acted and sung musical. I can't say enough good a out it. I ordered the cd and bought a shirt. I love men who can sing. Oh, sorry. But they were SINGING Shakespeare!

We spent what was supposed to be a few minutes with the cast, but turned out to be around 20 minutes with most of them. They loved the sets and our "cast" of dolls. I was told by a few of them that it was great to be doing this with them. If they weren't interested , I wouldn't be doing it with them.

One of the cast is an assistant fight director (swords) who Braeden immediately loved, of course. It was a wonderful night for all of us.

Kids4Bard is now on twitter and Facebook. Follow if you would like. We are open. Also, we have the gmail account Kids4Bard@gmail.com.

In there, I also took part in a webinar with the RSC about teaching Shakespeare to kids. I learned so much. Most importantly, I learned what I had to do to get out of myself to help the kids. Namely, as the wonderful Sean Arbuckle would call, movement (not dancing). In time, we will get there.

My kids have also been sending questions to the Stratford Q&A's on Facebook. We have learned so much! It's been great watching the wheels in their heads turn to think of something new to ask. Nya:weh to Lisa and Christi for reminding me of the days and members.

Which brings me back to my 25 days. I am reading Mr P's book again. I will blog everyday about what I read. The last time, I looked for authors and actors, this time will be on Mr Plummer himself.

Tonight's reading showed me that I am not related to him on my maternal grandmother's side. My dad's family is from Quebec and the Jesuits knew how to keep records! We will see what happens when I do my paternal grandfather's side.

Mr P is an only child with much maternal/womanly influence on him. But this influence also included an aunt who was a world leader if congenital heart defects in the early 20th century. These women were not passive. They were acclaimed sportswomen, too. And well read. Very well read.

They were rich. They went to concerts, and theatres. They listened on the radio to operas from the USA. Such a simpler life than 100 cable stations which show rare value.

Reading this book has not only inspired my love of reading, but in turn, is helping my children's love of literature grow. Kids4Bard has been a great past time for them, for us, this summer. I'll continue as long as they want.

And Braeden will love to read Mr Leacock (whose book I have misplaced, again). He loves the oddness of life. The books will be perfect for him.