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 Stratford Turns A Page - An Exciting 55th Season
by


Professor Arnie Greenberg

The 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 this year.

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, Christopher Plummer     


Samuel Beckett

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 giving superb

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 a

British adaptation of Lope de Vega’s, Fuente Ovejuna. A play about morality and violence in the time of Spain’s Ferdinand and Isabella.

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 http://ww.stratfordshakespearefestival.com

Taming of the Shrew  
Taming of the Shrew  

Romeo & Juliet
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 brochure…

Arni http://www.top-travel-ideas.com.  

#   #   #

You can Contact Professor Arnie Greenberg at

Email:  Ultours1@gmail.com

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.

Go to:  www.top-travel-ideas.com or contact him directly at ultours1@gmail.com.

(More about the writer.)

 
 

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