Stratford Big Rig

Some pictures taken on a recent day trip to Stratford to see Richard III. The big rig photos were taken from a moving car hence the slight blur.

morning sky when we hit the 401
our favorite pie shop
too big for our cooler
washroom selfie at Bentley’s
outside the new Tom Patterson Theatre
gardens at the Tom Patterson
on the way home we got stuck behind this big rig – note it is wider than the road
big rig finally turns at 401 – it added 30 min to our drive home 😦
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Stratford the People’s Choice

the Patterson gardens will look great in five years

Earlier this week, Tuesday, May 17 we took our first day trip to see Richard III at the Stratford Festival. As usual we left a little after 9 with the first stop to for gas (before the prices went up again). While pumping gas the attendant pointed out that we had a flat tire! Luckily for us my partner is a ‘regular’ at this full-service station & they were able to get the tire fixed quickly. We ended up about 20 minutes behind schedule. 

looking out on the clouds

The sunny day was perfect driving weather. Traffic on the 401 wasn’t too bad – building more highways creates more traffic not less congestion. No major construction slowdowns either. At Cambridge we stopped at a Tims for a pee break & coffee. Continued on the scenic New Dundee Road, through New Dundee, Haysville – a stop in Shakespeare for pies & finally Stratford.

utilitarian ceiling

The next unexpected wrinkle was that our favourite lunch spot, Features, was closed! Windows papered over, signs gone 😦 On to Bentley’s, our other fav spot. I asked our server there about Features & the diner has moved & recently reopened. Whew. Lost time meant we went directly to the new Tom Patterson Theatre, which on May 12 was the recipient of the 2022 People’s Choice Award from the Ontario Association of Architects (OAA).

utilitarian lounge

Over the past years we have watched the transformation from tear down, to levelling & then construction of the new facility. The building is inviting but, to me, lacks drama 🙂 Interesting use of materials, the ripple shape of the entrance creates a sense of flow. Perhaps seeing it on a rather overcast, cool afternoon diminished it pizzazz. 

reproduction of robe from 1953 production of Richard III

The interior is modest &, at this point, lacks character with its metal, stonework, & wood finishes. Nothing ornate about it. It felt like an upscale high-school facility. I was hoping for some chandeliers or wall-sconce lighting ornamentation.  

The performance space had the new car smell 🙂 The seats were plush & comfortable. The spacing was not as cramped as the old theatre which made watching more pleasant. All the drama was on the stage where it belongs.

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Stratford July 2021

With an upcoming day trip to Stratford to see Richard III here are some photos from a day trip there in July 2021 to get away. We didn’t see a show but booked tickets to see Three Tall Women in October. https://topoet.ca/2021/10/01/ah-yes-i-remember-it-well/

For recharging your car not your cellphone
safe from glory holes too
no pee peeking
wash your own hands
one of the outdoor stages
tarts at the Shakespeare Pie Shop
barn on the way home
rustic farm house
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Stratford Protocol

Earlier this week we took a day trip to Stratford. This is the first summer in decades I haven’t seen show there, & the first time since the 50’s my partner hasn’t seen a show there. Neither have never been there when they wasn’t a show running. Unlike out usual visits there we didn’t have to pack as much in the way of snacks & fluids 🙂

With most of the province inching into phase 3 I was curious to see just what that meant outside of the golden horseshoe. We left later than usual, no rush to get there for 2 pm curtain. The weather was perfect. The traffic was the usual with slowdowns outside of Kitchener. Our first stop was the Tim’s at the edge of Cambridge. 

Masks on & in we went. No seating but washrooms were open, on request, one person at a time. Follow the arrows to the exit please. Staff masked & gloved. Coffee up to their standards. From there we took the New Dundee Road though New Dundee, Haysville & on to Shakespeare, This was the only major slowdown for highway work being done on the intersection there. 30 mins while road-plows plowed the road. It seems university guys aren’t doing construction this year to pay their tuition 😦

It was worth the wait for our next stop: the Pie Shop. There we bought chicken pot pies, lemon tarts & other nutritious snacks. On to Stratford for lunch at Features.

Yes Features was open for ‘take-out’ only. But they had patio tables set up & brought your order to your table. The town had more people than expected wandering in & out of the fudge stores. But the Festival theatres were all shut down even the gift shops. With so little tourist traffic the town opted not to do any gardening along sidewalks etc.

We did drive around to see the new Theatre. The rush for opening has allowed them to take their time with landscaping. The lots was fenced off so I didn’t get any real close up photos. People in paddle boats on the Avon was out matinee performance 🙂

Drive home was good. Road workers on lunch break as we passed through Shakespeare. One last stop at the Pork Shop for their excellent pulled pork. Home by 4:30. exhausted by all that sitting, taking photos & enjoying the scenery? Maybe we’ll hit Niagara-on-the-Lake for an August day trip. A big maybe because there isn’t even a favorite restaurant we miss there.  

School For #sfScandal

Took in Antoni Cimolino’s production of R.B. Sheridan’s School For Scandal, our final Stratford production of the year at the Festival Theatre, on Tuesday. As per usual we left Toronto around 9:15 for to drive leisurely – 401 to Cambridge where we always stop at a Tim Ho’s for a washroom break & a coffee, then a welcome stop at the Shakespeare pie shop  http://www.shakespearepies.net  for meat pies. We would arrive in Stratford by noon for lunch, usually at Features. 

The weather was perfect for the drive. Sunny but not overly warm. Traffic on 401 was fine the first hour then bam! to snail crawl – three lanes of it moving nowhere slowly. Why? We find out when we get the Guelph Line where traffic was reduced to a single lane & detoured along the Line 😦 We had to make a washroom stop along with way at a Country Time. Skipped lunch, didn’t get back to 401 for an hour or so & finally got parked in Stratford at 2:15. Needless to say we missed the curtain going up on the show – the detour was the real scandal. But we didn’t give up on the show. All we missed was the first scene. I can read that if I need to.

Once my racing brain had settled in somewhat I was quickly immersed in the production. The text is essentially nasty one liners & comic retorts. Characters are created with names: i.e. Lord Backbite. The performances were lively, arch, sincere & delicious. Costumes were great, wigs were perfect. It was clear that the cast really enjoyed their roles & the dialogue they were given to perform.

The nature of gossip, truth & alternate facts were very clear & a great comment on our modern day life in which being malicious is often the point – it doesn’t matter who the object of the maliciousness is. Being clever & nasty that is the point. Name calling only counts if the name you are calling is witty enough.

A superb production that I’d recommend except this was the last performance. It almost made the hell drive okay but …. at least the pie shop was open on the way home & I got an amazing maple pecan butter tart to sooth my weariness.

Reviews of the other shows I’ve seen this season at Stratford & Shaw:

‘in the key of green’ Bakkhai http://wp.me/p1RtxU-2r0

A #Changeling For the Better http://wp.me/p1RtxU-2tg

A Bloodless #Dracula http://wp.me/p1RtxU-2uU

Tartuffe: The Dance Remix http://wp.me/p1RtxU-2w6

Me and My Lamp Post http://wp.me/p1RtxU-2xN

 

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