Sometimes it only takes one perfect day to re-jig and re-wire yourself, to see things in perspective again. Thing is you can never plan such a day—it just appears out of ordinary moments that turn magical for unknown reasons. Like yesterday when we played hookey and drove to Stratford with tickets for Michel Tremblay’s For the Pleasure of Seeing Her Again—the first ‘moment’ occurring when a detour in town led us to Romeo Street where we decided to stretch our legs awhile at Gallery Stratford. Co-incidentally, the main exhibit, ‘Natural History’ was about the evolution of zoos, a subject recently on my mind. One element of the installation was a two minute video of a deer and a wolf together in an empty and windowless room. Extraordinary to watch their behaviour, their eyes and breathing—so anxious are they in this unnatural space that they forget they’re prey and predator and become strangely equal in their discomfort. In another area are framed photos of animals in various North American zoos, their cages essentially ’empty rooms’ but for the jungle murals, or fake rocks, which may make the audience perceive the space as much more tolerable but (we can assume) does squat for the animals.
After that we went downtown and browsed Inuit art, stopped by Rocky Mountain Chocolate to inhale, visited the tea place (which could surely convert the staunchest coffee drinker) for supplies to re-fill our larder with lapacho bark, peach flavoured oolong, powdered rooibos and the various assams that Peter fancies. Then on to lunch at Woolfy’s where the staff was delightful, the wine list excellent and well priced, and the Lake Erie perch crispy battered, delicate, and served with a delicious homemade ketchup. I’m not even going to mention dessert…
Finally, the play—a complete joy (but when is Tremblay not?). The premise being the playwright’s memory of his mother—a wildly passionate woman, dominant, loud, gossiping, yet loving and nurturing, who is also a master storyteller.
When, after 90 minutes (no intermission), it ended, I was stunned and horrified. Surely this was a mistake, it couldn’t be the end. Not like that. There must be an intermission.
But the lights came on and the actors took their bows. Ridiculous, I thought. Everything had been so brilliant up until then, every word, gesture, I wanted it to go on another hour at least, maybe two.
As we filed out of the theatre I seriously thought of writing Tremblay and pointing out his shocking error in judgment. Cher Monsieur Tremblay: Tout etait tres bon, sauf… I would begin. Then use google translate from there. Shuffling toward the exit, I was just getting to the part where I’d offer up my suggestions to improve the ending… when I suddenly understood.
I won’t spoil things with details but let’s just say if you leave feeling like it’s all over too quickly—yeah, it is. And that’s just the point.
Good things are always over too quickly.
However, if we’re lucky, and paying attention, sometimes those bits of ‘magic’ linger, just long enough to change us a tiny bit for the better.
—tout etait bon indeed.
4 thoughts on “a short, sweet time in stratford”
I love this post. Indeed.
Thanks Kerry. (Was it the Rocky Mtn. Chocolate Factory that ultimately got to you? Its power has no limits…)
Sounds like an incredible day. I am truly envious. Way back in the early 80s Ted Dykstra and I used to write songs when he was a student at NTS in Montreal. Lucy Peacock was in the year ahead of him and they used to sing together, songs by Paul Simon, Harry Chapin and Mayoff/Dykstra originals. Later, after they both graduated, they worked at Stratford and would sing our songs at Thursday night talent shows. Fun times.
Steve — You’re telling me you listened to Lucy Peacock sing your songs and you’re jealous of me?? Okay. I’ll buy that for one brief millesecond — only because it truly was a great day, and the play was brilliant, and the magic lingers…
(BTW, I love how you have all these great stories in your back pocket!)