Because of the last 2-3 weeks, I feel my outlook has been altered for the better. Life tends to do that...theatre as well.
Back on February 29, Stratford had a big ticket deal - $29 for any show playing on the 29th of the month. I bought 2 tickets for the intention of bringing Braeden for a late birthday present. I had no idea it was the closing night (thanks for the heads up, Lisa!).
In the past month, the twitter club also had tickets for Cymbeline, closing night. That was the show I knew Braeden had to see. He had already seen Henry this season, so I gave the ticket to Dakota.
The 29th of September was a busy day for me/us. It was the Breastfeeding Challenge which Lisa Dietrich and I planned for 2 months. It is a day to celebbrate breastfeeding, and take part in a friendly 'challenge' to see how many women can nurse their babies at the same time, 11:00 sharp. We had a magician, Mr Fantastic, booked, my favourite Toronto musician (and great human being) Brian MacMillan play - plus, he brought his wife's cookies (www.newmoonkitchen.com). We had a diaper derby, food, cake...it was to be a full day of speeches about the importance of breastfeeding.
Five minutes before we started, I was told a well-respected, honoured and beloved elder on our reserve died during the night. She was like a grandmother to me - to many of us. She never questioned me if I 'belonged' for which I will always love her. I lost all train of thought, and any itinerary we had kind of went out the window. The magic, music, and breastfeeding were great, but my mind just couldn't keep track of things. While it was a success, I'd say, the end result wasn't what I envisioned. We did have a lively group of 11 moms/babies happily nurse away at 11 sharp. We even had a mom travel from London to take part (her husband said he'd clean house while she and baby were gone - what a great guy!).
We packed up early, so the family and I came home to change and get ready for the rest of the day in Stratford.
Dakota and I arrived nice and early for the show. He forgot his coat, and it was a chilly, drizzly day, so we stuck to the Festival Theatre, which was fine because there was a craft fair going on. We learned about where to buy chain mail for Braeden from a woman who made beautiful glass and gold jewellry.
We bought a sample pack of perfumes made by Claire Lautier - she is so talented, gorgeous, and giving. (www.grasseroots.com) Her perfumes are 100% natural and botanical perfumes. They smell divine, and don't lead to headaches due to scent irritation. So far, Geisha is my favourite, but she has one that smells like chocolate, too. And, she can custom make a perfume for you or your loved one, or as a wedding present (that's what the midwives and I are doing for a 4th year midwifery student who is getting married in December).
While speaking with Claire at her booth, Sean Arbuckle stopped by to say hi to her. I had no idea they went to Julliard and Duke together. I'm glad I didn't say or do anything stupid before I knew that (roll eyes). He really does have such lovely blue eyes, though...
After talking with Claire, we spoke for a long time with a local Stratford photographer, whose husband does the IT for Stratfest. I can't locate her card right now. I hope Dakota still has it. She sold beautiful wildlife photos. They were so lifelike. We all spoke about Dakota being the photographer for his high school football team, and that he was thinking about taking journalism and photography in post-secondary.
While we were sharing stories, the most incredible sites came into view...
Have you ever seen the exact end of a rainbow, of a double rainbow? There was no gold at the end. It was the Stratford Festival Theatre. Good enough for me.
Walking up to the lounge, and past the box office, I took a quick double look and stopped in my tracks. I couldn't believe who I was seeing. After a year or so of emailing with questions from the kids and I, Dakota and I finally met the gorgeous Dion Johnstone. It was like finally meeting a penpal for me. But for Dakota, he was excited to meet Dion because he was on Stargate. Dak now has some celebrity status (again) at school for this picture:
Dakota's eyes, like Braeden's in a previous post, just pop - especially with that shirt. What a picture of two beautiful men. Dakota actually got a text, a post, and an email from a girl that said over and over, "I hate you." She was slightly jealous. Teenage girls...
One last time to Henry V ... and it was fabulous. It's funny that I could see staging changes in the show (I liked it best when Nell and Pistol said good-bye in the aisle).
Permit me this joke, once more - a breach means something very different to a midwife...
This was the first time I had seen a Stratfest play 4 times. Reading and tweeting the funny Reid Vanier (distant relative to THE Vanier's - look up the Vanier Institute) made the show (and the Olympics) enjoyable throughout the season. But, there was something more about this play. Something which I still haven't been able to explain why or what.
During intermission, we ran into Ken James Stewart again. He is so sweet. I thanked him again for being so nice to Braeden on his birthday, with regards to the programme. I gave him the prize Kevin Yee won (naming the musical where "I enjoy being a girl" is from - Flower Drum Song). Kevin was at the show, but I didn't feel like stalking anyone.
The prize, which I regret not taking a picture of, was a single ceramic tile which I painted yellow and black, like Charlie Brown's shirt. The first time we saw Charlie Brown was way back in May, while I was working as part of a traditional teaching about puberty camp, held at a Tim Horton's Camp. Painting the tiles was an activity we did on Saturday, after I got back from seeing Charlie Brown with the kids. I knew I was going to give it away when I made it, I just didn't know to whom until a few days before we saw Henry. It seemed like a perfect gift for Kevin. I'm glad he liked it.
Our seats for Henry were 4th row, very stage left. It was a new perspective of the show, to say the least. We missed Falstaff in bed. Dak missed Pistol's (Swooney Rooney) finger pointing at Fluellen - a very funny spot in the show. Explaining it to Dakota took the funny out of it. And, as a mom, our seat location meant he did not see any of the naked Kate (a fact his girlfriend was quite happy for, as well).
I'll miss the gorgeous flags...
Sitting there, we also heard the roof of the Festival Theatre make strange new noises. It turned out to be crew members moving up there, getting the rigging ready for Bardolph's hanging (which is a site I won't be missing).
Leaving the theatre that night, I felt odd, out of sorts. I realized that I was missing the play. Missing the play like I missed a friend who moved away. The play will be back at some point, I'm sure, but it won't be the same.
I still miss it. I miss Ben Carlson's Fluellan - he spoke in such an accent, at such speed, that I had to look up his lines at home. I now find it increasingly difficult to read any Shakespeare and not hear Ben C speak. I miss Claire's Queen Isobel of France. Dang, Claire can play a witch really well. It's such the opposite to the woman I spoke with. I really miss the love between Pistol and Nell, the broken French/English between Kate and Henry.
I saw Lucy Peacock after Pirates yesterday and told her my feelings. I really am going to miss Nell. Lucy played a great Nell.
I know I'll see Henry V at some point in the future. An honest question: what will I have to do to watch a new production and not compare it to this one? I'm at a loss. May it be years and years away...