Monday, July 04, 2016

My Jaunt to Stratford






At least once a year, we go with friends to Stratford, Ontario to take in a few plays. You can see what we saw this year and all of them were excellent, especially Macbeth. I loved the singing and dancing in A CHORUS LINE but have to say the narrative seems dated in its presentation. AS YOU LIKE IT had a terrific Rosalind but it is definitely a weaker play from the bard. And way too long at three hours. Still Stratford productions are always original and totally professional. As good as anywhere to my mind.
One of the treats of going to Canada is I always have lunch with Brian Busby and get to hear about what he's up to. And this year, he gave me these two terrific books with intros from Brian and J.F. Norris. What a treat. These Ricochet books can be ordered on Amazon, Abe Books and other venues.. Brian is Ricochet's series editor if you didn't know that.
We always try to bring home a greeting card or small print and this was this years choice from a 90 year old artist.

Oh, and have a happy fourth! I get to march in the parade as a Friend of the Library. Bring out the aspirin. 


12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Looks like you had a fun time--and I love that purple print.

I know what you mean about running time. I saw an uncut version of Hamlet in the early 1980s. It was almost five hours long (not including intermission). I don't think I could voluntarily subject myself to something that long again--although the production was good, five hours is a long time for someone to get around to killing their stepfather!

--Deb

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

Nice. I like the looks of those books too.

We saw A CHORUS LINE several times in its first run, including downtown at the Public Theatre before it moved to Broadway. We even saw it in London. This was in 1975-78. We loved it. When they revived it in 2006 we got tickets for my birthday, and you were right. It has dated badly, though the dancing was still terrific.

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

I think the longest single show we've sat through was LONG DAY'S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT on a very cold February night (which meant long winter coats, gloves, scarves, boots, etc.) at Brooklyn Academy of Music 40 years ago. The stars were Jason Robards, Jr. and Zoe Caldwell. Kevin Conway and Michael Moriarty played the Tyrone sons.

Jackie pretty much hated it all.

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

We have occasionally (usually in London) sat through two plays in the same day, though obviously with a break and dinner in between. In 1975 it was HEDDA GABLER (with Diana Rigg) followed by Ivy Compton-Burnett's A FAMILY AND A FORTUNE (with Alec Guinness) at night. Two weeks later it was BILLY (the musical adaptation of BILLY LIAR, with Michael Crawford) and Pinter's NO MAN'S LAND with John Gielgud and Ralph Richardson (another that Jackie didn't like). And then (same month!) there was Tom Stoppard's TRAVESTIES with John Wood and John Hurt (we'd seen his ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN ARE DEAD the night before), followed by Simon Gray's OTHERWISE ENGAGED with Alan Bates. The following year we did the two shows in one day thing three times, and in 1977 twice, though by then we'd learned to pick lighter shows or musicals on those days. (In 1977 it was a wonderful production of one of my favorite Shakespeare plays, MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, with Donald Sinden and Judi Dench, set in India during the Raj, followed by SIDE BY SIDE BY SONDHEIM.

We've even done it in New York. In 1986 we saw Joe Orton's LOOT (Alec Baldwin) and John Guare's THE HOUSE OF BLUE LEAVES (Swoosie Kurtz, Julie Hagerty) on the same day.

We haven't done it since 2002.

Charles Gramlich said...

I tend to like the plays I see but I hardly ever go to them.

Richard Robinson said...

Plays, books, art, friends. A delightful trip, Patti. Sound like a very nice time. I don't see plays these days, just too lazy, I guess. When I lived in SoCal, in Orange County, there was an outstanding repertory company and I had season tickets for many years. As for Shakespeare, I have not seen one of the plays live, which is fine with me. There is an outstanding Shakespeare festival - with other plays as well - in Ashland, OR every year, but we haven't attended. You have to get tickets nearly a year ahead, and it's an over 4 hour drive.

Happy Fourth!

Mathew Paust said...

No parade here (Gloucester, Va) and probly no fireworx tonite. It's raining!

pattinase (abbott) said...

It's so dry here I am worried about fireworks!
I have seen two plays in a day but not in years. These were over three days.

Brian Busby said...

Lunching with you and Phil is always a highlight of my summer, Patti. A Happy Fourth of July to you both!

J F Norris said...

Out here back in April or May the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre put on one of their most daring and original productions in decades. They produced a limited run of a marathon of the war plays including Marlowe's Edward II which is hardly ever produced. The evening or afternoon ran for six hours and had a dinner or lunch break. I just couldn't bring myself to shell out the money for this (cheapest ticket was $115) though of course it was raved about. And I would've ended up going alone since none of my usual theater companions had any interest in watching Shakespeare for that long -- especially plays about war. Critics from all over the world showed up to witness this event. It was kind of historic and will be talked about for a long time, along the lines of the RSC production of Nicholas Nickleby back in the 1979 or 1980.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I couldn't do it either. AS YOU LIKE IT was three hours because they added all of this audience participation and I could barely make that. I am never engrossed enough not to be aware of time.

George said...

You and Phil know how to live! We're going to the Shaw Festival next month.