I think June is a good time to begin.
It was a loverly June morning for Luke and I. With the other kids on the bus, Luke and I started our trip to Stratford. I had taken him to the Island to see The Bench (picture above). But, Luke found something far more exciting than a bench.
The reason for our early trip to Stratford, was because 2 other moms and I were asked to be a part of an interview of sorts about how to have our children be involved, take part, in the theatre, and about the wonders of Stratford itself. I wished I could have lived out this day prior to the interview, because this was quite possibly, the best day I have had to date in Stratford.
For about an hour, Lisa D-C, Mara S, and myself, along with Lisa M from Stratfest (and the attending cameramen) discussed theatre. What a glorious hour it was! I felt uplifted, inspired. What an absolute joy it was to share that time discussing 2 of my favourite parts of my life - my children, and the magic of theatre, Stratford Festival specifically. We laughed until our sides hurt. I wish I could see the blooper real. One part about taking my teenage son to his first "titty show" [Grapes of Wrath - read the book] was my favourite. I wondered why Dakota took to that show so much.
If interested (and you should be, if you have children, or love theatre, and Stratford): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qymNR0HEBbk&feature=plcp. The videos are a great watch. Have fun - let me know what you think. I noticed I have trouble speaking in complete sentences.
After the interview, we ate at Boomers Fries who make gourmet fries/poutine. Amazing, and I don't eat fries, usually, but I made an exception to my rule. It was worth it. SO good.
We saw, "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown" again, and again, I cried. I think that play speaks to the innocence of childhood - something that was lost long ago. Parts of growing up sucks.
We drove down to the Festival Theatre and more tree climbing...and ducks. Lots of baby ducks. I discovered Luke has a great eye for photography. There were some photos I still am not sure if he took them, or I did. Either way, they are good!
Luke also had the trees. I dare say, Luke would go to Stratford just to climb the trees along the Avon. I know he would. We walked (and climbed) up and down the river for close to 3 hours. I don't know how many trees that included, but I can say that Luke 1) didn't fall and 2) his clothes came home with no rips, tears, nor grass stains. He's a pro.
We met a wonderful couple to retired to Stratford 3 years ago. I wish I could remember their names. They had come down to the river to hear the music on the barge. I had not heard of this barge before. They played big band!! It was heavenly. The 3 of us talked about Stratfest, our histories with theatre, big band music (they could cut a rug!), midwifery, and how great it was to bring Luke to the Festival while so young. Another hour discussing theatre...such a great day - but still not the highlight.
The highlight started when Cymbeline began. Luke sat up in his seat. His ears perked up. He was entranced. Did he understand the show? Not entirely.
He invented a genius way to ask me questions without bothering other patrons around us. He rolled up the programme, put one end to my ear, and asked his questions in the other end. It worked very well.
Cymbeline is magical. It is brilliant. It has the best fight scene I have ever seen. It had shirtless men. Yes, the perfect show. Luke sat still the entire 3 hour performance. He loved every minute of it. So did I. As much as I loved the show (and I still have to see it again), watching Luke watch his first Shakespeare play and be so enveloped in it...that was my favourite part. The swords helped, too. And the bows and arrows.
I took Luke to the stage door when the show was done. Wow. I didn't expect what happened next.
That is Luke. Holding a severed head and a bloody sword, with Graham Abbey (Posthumous, and one of the Shirtless Wonders). This wonderful man, at the suggestion of a friend of his at the stage door, brough Luke (and I) backstage. I was in awe. Luke? I'm not sure if they have a name for the emotion he had right then. He was shy but so polite, my son. When Graham told him he started at Stratfest when he was Luke's age, I'm pretty sure something clicked in Luke's soul. He has a dream...
We saw the scenery be taken down, crew in the back grabbing clothes for the laundry, Jupiter's ride (go see the show and you will know what I'm taking about). Luke also became a Roman soldier:
As we walked out the stage door, I saw John Vickery (one of my favourites at Stratfest). He was very kind (he was in Titus last year, along with a local Simcoe boy who played Lucius). We saw and spoke with Ms. Cara Ricketts last. She was so incredible with Luke. We had a great talk about him being in Willy Wonka...and worms. (We won't talk about worms here)
If Tom Paterson was the Maker of Miracles, these fine actors are keeping that dream alive. I thank them for that.
On the list of top days of my life, this day is included. I couldn't have asked for anything more. I don't think I could have felt anything more. My cup was full. Luke's was full. His adrenaline from holding the swords lasted until about 20 minutes into our drive. I think I still feel mine.
Since that time, I started a Kids4Bard group. We are taking a Shakespeare play and breaking it down. We started with A Midsummer Nights Dream. We did costume study. We designed sets. Our group has grown to 10 kids and adults. The kids are having fun. One of the midwives I work with brought 2 of her girls (5 and 20-something, Emily and Amanda). Amanda graduated from Emily Carr out in BC. I was so grateful she came to share her talents with us. Sharon (her mom) has great talent, too. I would not have known if it were not for Kids4Bard.
Braeden had his day in Stratford seeing Henry V. But, that is another story for another blog. As is Henry V that we saw this week. And my new book.
Tomorrow, Cordelia and I are having a Girl Day - no swords shall be mentioned. But, if I do not get to sleep soon, I will be grumpy .... No, not a chance. Tomorrow will be making more dreams come true.