Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A Festival + Friends = Fun



Over hill, over dale,
Thorough bush, thorough brier,
Over park, over pale,
Thorough flood, thorough fire,
I do wander everywhere.
A Midsummer Night's Dream, 2. 1

I owe a great debt to the Stratford Shakespeare Festival (Stratford Ontario), it introduced me to live professional drama. My sophomore year, the high school drama teacher took a group of us to see George Bernard Shaw's "St Joan". It was done on the Festival Theatre's thrust stage and the rest was history as they say. Since that time I have returned on many occasions including two in which I had the pleasure of introducing my niece and then nephew to what they had to offer.

In recent times I have been to see an actor perform whom I became acquainted with 13 years ago. This year he was to perform in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Julius Ceasar and Macbeth. Geriant Wyn Davies. So when a group of friends decided to go my birthday weekend in August it was the perfect opportunity to share a hallmark birthday and to see some great drama.

We saw 2 plays on my birthday. Macbeth (Ger played Duncan) and A Midsummer Night's Dream (his role here was Bottom). Macbeth was the disappointment. In fact I fell asleep in the act just before intermission! I felt guilty as I've never fallen asleep at a production until I found 2 others in our group had dozed too. A Midsummer's Night Dream was the opposite in the evening. I laughed until tears rolled down my face. It was the first night it was performed and I loved it. Wish the critics had as much as our group, but what can you say it's not often that audiences and critics find common ground. On the second day we saw Julius Ceasar (Ger played Ceasar). It was well done, but not my favorite. Then on Sunday we saw Phedre another well conceived/acted production.

In between all of the plays we ate great food, met wonderful friendly people and just relaxed. We were staying at a B&B called Serenity run by an older couple who were a delight. Originally from the Netherlands (I believe), they fed us and took care of us like we were long lost children. We didn't want to leave.

I'm excited that I will see the closing performance of "A Midnight Summer's Dream" since I have to return to Michigan in late October. I would encourage anyone to go to Stratford. They have world class productions and rival anything I've seen done on Broadway or the West End in London.

Even though I didn't like this production of Macbeth, this was the only clip I could find that included Ger...

Stratford Shakespeare Festival 2009, "Macbeth":


1 comment:

susanna said...

That is one festival I really should have made the effort to attend when we lived in Toronto. It always gets such great reviews. And how cool is it that you know one of the actors!

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