I spent last weekend in Stratford, Ontario at the Shakespeare Festival. I planned this trip when I learned that Christopher Plummer would be back on stage with a one man show. The performance was worth the whole trip. (Two years ago I came for just over 24 hours to see Plummer in The Tempest. The border guard could not believe that I had come from Alabama just to see a play.) I also saw Henry V and 42nd Street. This is not as strange of a combination as it might appear. Henry V is one of my favorite plays. The program notes for this production emphasize some of the reasons – it is a play that extends beyond the limits of time. The themes and issues are not just from Shakespeare’s era, but relate to our own. Why do we engage in senseless wars? 42nd Street was the first play I saw on Broadway. In contrast to Henry V, it is a big silly, fun musical. It reminds me, as I told my sister last night, of the gift she gave me when she introduced me to theater. Plummer’s work was magnificent. He wove together poetry and prose ranging from Lewis Carroll to A.A. Milne to the Bible and Emily Dickinson. Not only was it a journey through his life and experience, it was a journey through the importance of language and image. Henry V also reminded me once again of the rich language of Shakespeare as he directs the audience to imagine and to visualize where we are. Language transports us to the fields of war in Henry V and to Broadway in 42nd Street.
It’s a bit of a “planes, trains, and automobile” trek to get to Stratford. I drove to Birmingham, flew to Detroit, then drove to Stratford. On the way back I took a later flight so I sat in the airport for hours – but that was my own fault. There was road construction along the way and, a rare occurence, I forgot to print a map. I was relying on my GPS on my phone which did not work in Canada. It’s good I know my way.
This was my summer vacation and I did not have work with me. I did not rea work e-mail until I returned. I rarely get to go anywhere without work so it was fantastic.
Cheering for the Canadians
I don’t own a tv so I had not seen any of the Olympics this year. I love the summer Olympics and this time as well as during March Madness is about the only time I miss television. So when I arrived on Friday, I started looking for Olympic coverage on the hotel TV. It took me a while to figure out which channel because it isn’t NBC in Canada. I knew the coverage would be interesting because I am in a foreign country watching the Olympics. The only thing I could find early in the evening was equestrian events. They are beautiful but I was looking for track or swimming. Much later in the evening I finally found both and saw Missy Franklin win again. On Saturday I tuned in again in between doing things around Stratford and going to plays. Trampoline, swimming and track were on all day. The Canadians were thrilled with the trampoline gold. (When did that become an Olympic event?) I also got to see some cycling, kayaking, and canoeing.
Taking a break
On Saturday I took a break from workouts though I had planned on swimming. My plans were foiled because it turned out that the pool I had located was really only open to the public during matinee time and then a little later when I really would have had to push it to go swim and get back to go to the theater – and it was only open for 30 minutes at that point. So Saturday became an unplanned break from training.
On Sunday I got up early and ran. A cold front moved through overnight so it was very pleasant to run along the river. Stratford is one of those towns with sneaky little hills and I found several along the route I chose.
It was vacation but I didn’t go crazy eating everything. In fact, I went and found a grocery store and bought some things to eat on Saturday and Sunday. I did plan one really nice dinner at one of my favorite restaurants in Stratford, The Church. I’ve been there many times and it never disappoints.
I always like going to grocery stores in different places. I find it interesting to look at the way things are packaged and what the stores carry. There are not as many regional variations as there used to be but there are still some. After my run on Sunday morning I went to breakfast at a restaurant called Let them Eat cake. I had oatmeal, not cake, though there was a group actually having cake for breakfast.