magic is back. The curtain is up and the applause indicates newness in the
air. That new spirit comes from the changes that have made Stratford Ontario
the most popular Theatre Company in this country and arguably beyond.
There are still entertaining musicals but they have been
moved from the main stage. The Avon will be the site of Music Man with its
exciting, if different, musical score. Add a different rendition from the
Cabaret we became to know with Joel Grey. Any one is a good choice but the
main reason d’etre of the Festival is Shakespeare and this season we get a
wide choice. Just listing the offerings brings excitement to theater goers.
The main stage will feature Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, The Taming of The
Shrew, All’s Well That Ends Well, and Love’s Labour Lost.
Photo: Festival Thetre
|But the main stage won’t be exclusively
Shakespeare. It will also highlight the great Christopher Plummer in
George Bernard Shaw’s Caesar and Cleopatra. We’ve seen him at
Stratford as King Lear in 2002 and more recently in Inherit the
Wind and the Inherit The Wind about the Scopes Monkey Trial where,
Plummer, as Henry Drummond argued the discrepancies of the Bible
with Mathew Harrison Brady, played by Brian Dennehy. We’ll also be
able to see Brian Dennehy as the aging king of France in All’s Well
That Ends Well as well as Krapp’s Last Tape.
Shaw’s Caesar and Cleopatra is the author’s chance to
show up British behavior and propound his views on British
imperialistic plans to rule the seas. It is Shaw through and through
with sarcasm and wit as well as a personal statement. With
Christopher Plummer in the lead, the audience will see what should
be a flawless performance.
Can it be true? Can the Stratford Festival get any better?
You bet it can… and it did!
|This is the season to remember. The Festival
turned a corner and lovers of the theatre cannot afford to miss it
Following a long list of talented
artistic directors is Des McAnuff, who is bent on breathing new
blood and life into the Festival. It has been running since April
and will continue until November.
Currently worth seeing is a duet of Samuel
Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape and Eugene O’Neill’s Hughie. This
production ends shortly and seats are at a premium. If you can get
to see these intriguing short plays you will be well rewarded.
Photo: Festival Theatre,
|Beckett, you will remember was the author of
Waiting for Godot. An Irishman who lived mostly in France, Beckett
helped James Joyce do research for Finnigan’s Wake. Krapp’s Last
Tape is involved in the problem of aging, a topic that is getting
more popular today. These plays have been touring with Brian Dennehy
performances. He’s a veteran of film, TV and stage
and he is in good company when Christopher Plummer and a talented
core of performers take the stage.
But to go to Stratford this year there is a bonus
since Christopher Plummer is back. One of Canada’s most gifted and
celebrated actors, Christopher Plummer is no stranger to Stratford.
You may have seen him as King Lear in 2002. Since then, he’s been
busy as usual. His credits are legion; his talents still honed to
perfection. He’s a Canadian we’re all proud of as a Canada Medal
holder and honorary degrees. At 79 he still has the verve and energy
of a driven and dedicated actor. I look forward to seeing the play
in a few weeks.
Going to Stratford has, for many, been a yearly thing. The
Festival started in 1953 when Alec Guinness stepped on the Festival stage in
what was then a tent, to utter his first lines. Under the direction of
Tyrone Guthrie, it set in motion a theatrical tradition that has grown in
strength and stature. There are new buildings over the years including a
revamped Avon Theatre and one theatre named after Tom Patterson who
originally came up with the idea of a Stratford Shakespearean Theatre.
While the primary mandate of the Festival was to stage
works by Shakespeare, over the years other play writes were featured and
many popular Broadway musicals were added to the fare.
This year they will stage The Music Man by Meredith
Wilson, the popular musical Cabaret and plays by Shaw, Beckett, O’Neill and
British adaptation of Lope de Vega’s, Fuente Ovejuna. A
play about morality and violence in the time of Spain’s Ferdinand and
Something magical happens when the drum rolls and the
trumpeters sound the beginning of a show. The setting lends itself to an
artistic holiday. I get chills when I think of it.
YOU MUST GO.
There is a toll free number for tickets, accommodations
and brochures. Call 1 800 567 1600 or go to
Taming of the Shrew
Romeo & Juliet
Note: For those of you who are not familiar with the
location. Of the theatre (s) there are maps available for southern Ontario.
It between Toronto and Detroit.. The Festival office will even help your
accommodations needs in Hotels, Motels or B & Bs.
This is a vacation idea NOT TO BE MISSED…Ask for a free
You can Contact Professor Arnie Greenberg at:
Over the past few years, Professor
Greenberg has traveled with groups to France, Italy, Spain, Greece,
Budapest, Vienna, Salzburg, Prague and both Sorrento and the Bay of
Naples plus most of Sicily. His tours traveled to the far reaches of the
globe including Italy and most of
China (Beijing -Hong Kong) and to Russia where his group cruised the waters
from St.Petersburg to Moscow.
"He took a group to Greece and another to northern
Russia. In Nov 07 he took a tour group to much of India and ended his tour
groups by revisiting France. He now travels with his wife and friends. They
winter in Argentina or San Miguel Mexico. His newly found spare time
is taken up with his painting and writing. "I must write every day." His
current work is a cautionary manual for would-be tour leaders.. "So
You Want To Be A Tour Leader."
Arnie now travels with friends. He continues writing
Travel articles about unusual places but often concentrates on novel
writing. Two books based on French Art will be published this year.
Keep reading his web for travel ideas. His next
novel HELLSTORM'S Folly,
will be available this fall. He now
lives in British Columbia.
www.top-travel-ideas.com or contact him directly at
(More about the writer.)