Monday, 5 November 2012

60 Things I learned during Stratford's 60th Season

Here I am, in Montreal on my computer. We did a quick walk of Old Montreal and my heart longs to go back. That will be done tomorrow, after the Indspire Conference is completed. Anyone want to volunteer to be a tour guide?

I still need to write a blog about my final trip to Stratford, with my friend, Mary. It was a perfect day in many ways. I finally say Much Ado, then cracked ribs laughing at The Matchmaker again. Maybe I'll do it tomorrow...or on the train back home on Wednesday.

60 Things I Learned This Season, in no particular order:

1     Buy early - I would have missed A Word or Two
2     There's enough on Stratfest's website to keep one happy over the winter.
3     Yes, one musical can change a life (Cordelia & 42nd Street).
4     Stratford employs wonderful people, on and off the stage, who almost always go that extra mile
5     Actors can improve a show over a matter of even a couple of weeks
6     Not enough praise goes to the costume designers or set designers or lighting designers or...
7     The look of the play can change dramatically from the first press shots to final stage production (ie - pictures of Sean Arbuckle as Pirate King, and Kyle Blair, are nothing like what ended up in the show).
8     Pay grade: Christopher Plummer is up here - everyone else is down here (Q&A with Sean A after 42nd Street)
9     Kids get Shakespeare when they see it better than when they read it (Luke at Cymbeline - 1st Shakespeare and he loved the entire 3 hours. He was 10 at the time).
10   Dressing kids up to see a play does help them to behave better.
11   Actors/actresses love knowing children are getting into the arts and will help them as much as they can with encouragement or answering questions
12   Dakota is the most shy child I have - he wouldn't go on camera for the Kids REact video.
13   If you don't ask, the answer is always no. Just ask!
14   A man should love and honour his girlfriend/wife as Cornelius Hackl does of Ms. Milloy
15   A good sword can be used in multiple plays and have a grand effect
16   Cymbeline - I doubt another Shakespeare play will ever attain this level of perfection again - but it will be fun trying
17   Bring kids to a beautiful spot to tell them news that may change their life forever. In that way, they will have a peaceful spot to remember the news (see blog on Hirsch)
18   Actors have an inner strength I can't understand (see Hirsch, but also Claire Lautier as Tamora in Titus from last year)
18   Everyone who works at Stratford makes it a success
19   Henry V- I didn't know one could ever miss a play, like a friend who moves away
20   Artists on Broadway help younglings reach for bigger dreams
21   Security on the Armouries is TIGHT but necessary!!
22   Question and answer moments on Stratfest's facebook helped us to learn a LOT
23   The Q&A's helped me to come up with Kids4Bard
24   One can act a really good French accent
25   Christopher Plummer can act, and has the best command of the English language I've witnessed
26   Going to a play alone is sometimes a good thing, but talking about a play with a child or friend afterwards may be necessary
27   Seeing other people's struggles onstage helps to bring my own solutions into focus (Wanderlust)
28   Hobbies for actors include: sewing, horse racing, and making perfumes (among others)
29   Happiness is reconnecting with a parent you thought you wouldn't feel close to again, ever
30   Stage Door meet & greets are always better when I'm with a child or a friend (I doubt I'll ever do one by myself, even if it was told me to I should - I'm too shy and would feel like a stalker)
31   Men who sing are fantazmazing.
32   Even the simplest of plays can be transformative (Charlie Brown)
33   I am completely jealous of women who sing (Ms. Peacock and Ms. Hutton)
34   Actors think Elvish is cool (Braeden feels like he found soulmates)
35   A man should do what you ask if they want to feel worthy of you (see Cornelius and Barnaby in Matchmaker)
36   Everyone remembers Cordelia.
37   Shirtless Wonders is a list which should grow every year.
38   Cara Ricketts is a wonderful human being - Cordelia wants to adopt her as a big sister she will never have
39   Closing night performances rip your heart out
40   I don't have a before/after theatre in my life - it's just always been there (thanks for helping me realize that, Josh)
41   building up A word or two to grandiose heights - and what I got out of it most was memories of my dad, and feeling like I was wrapped up in my favourite blanket
42   Tom Patterson Theatre is my favourite theatre
43   Backstage crew work long hours, after actors leave for drinks
44   Even a chorus girl can be a star
45   Nell and Pistol will stay with me forever - best love story of the season for me
46   I need Wanderlust on my ipod
47   Stratford Exhibition is one of my favourite places in the entire world - one day I'm going to retire there to volunteer
48   In first seasons, actors would stay with local families while the plays were going on (Sir Alec Guiness included)
49   It took around 14 hours to get costumes repaired and ready for 42nd Street's next performance
50   That look I saw in Cara's and Steve Ross' eyes... I got a glimpse into their hearts (see previous blogs)
51   Actors need to project at all times in case their microphones stop working
52   My kids really do love the theatre
54   I want someone to treat me like Cornelius wants to treat Ms. Milloy - every woman deserves that
55   Words are spectacular beings in their own right - how they are said, and how you receive are 2 different animals - domesticated or wild
56   We all need an adventure in our lives (I need to find that last monologue from Matchmaker and memorize it)
57   Introspection is rarely unfelt pain, but necessary to feel to get to where you want to be, or be who you want to become
58   Theatre creates safe zones for people (friends, strangers, family) to share their most intimate emotions, without fear of retaliation or of not being heard
59   Festival Theatre backstage is huge
60   Theatre can make you laugh as much as it can make you cry, but only if you open yourself up to your own emotions

I thought 60 would be hard to come up with, but I found I deleted some to add others. I may still have another 60 in my head...

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