Stratford, Ontario Archives

June 13, 2009

The Stratford Festival


I had a pleasant drive out to Stratford, pretty much on major highways all the way. I am spending the next two days here attending some plays: two Shakespeare productions tomorrow and Chekhov's The Three Sisters on Sunday afternoon. I am also signed up for a backstage tour of the main theater complex (pictured above) and a lecture/ discussion with lunch tomorrow.

June 14, 2009

British Breakthrough


It's been over 70 years since a local won the grass-court Wimbledon tune-up at Queen's Club, but Andy Murray prevailed today against American James Blake to end that drought. I'm sure folks in the U.K. are hoping mightily for a repeat of such success three weeks from today in SW19.

June 13, 2009

That Scottish Play


I watched a good staging of Macbeth this afternoon, interestingly set in central Africa in the middle of the 20th century. The show was a appropriately dark, with some good acting complementing the pyrotechnics and strong production values.

Beware The Ides Of March


Tonight I saw Julius Caesar on stage for the very first time, having read the play first as a tenth-grader and then again for my Yale course two weeks ago. This production has gotten mixed reviews, in part because the costumes don't seem anchored in any particular era (togas are mixed with modern dress). I found the show credible, though, even if the acting was a bit stiff in places.

June 14, 2009

Three Sisters


The last play I saw on this trip to Stratford, Ontario, was Anton Chekhov's Three Sisters. In the past six months I have also watched productions of The Seagull and The Cherry Orchard. But this show was the most satisfying of the trio. I think I liked the play itself better than the other two. And the cast in today's performance was terrific. Of the quartet of Chekhov's masterworks, I have only Uncle Vanya left to see now.

August 7, 2010

In The Forest Of Arden


The As You Like It I saw this afternoon was an engaging production, one that made me appreciate this play--one of my favorite Shakespearean comedies--in new ways. The previous stagings I had seen (at the Globe in 2009 and he Bridge Company at the Brooklyn Academy of Music last winter) were also quite good. It may speak to the strength of the play itself that a decent company might have to work hard to screw up this work!

Returning To The Stratford Festival


This is my second visit to the Stratford Festival, a annual season of theater--mostly, but not entirely, Shakespeare works--in Ontario. My weekend here starts with a "table talk" lecture in conjunction with lunch at the Festival Theater. Then I will see two of my favorite Shakespeare plays, As You Like It this afternoon, followed by The Tempest tonight.

Rough Magic


Christopher Plummer showed why his reputation is anchoring this summer's slate of offerings at the Stratford Festival by turning in a terrific performance as Prospero in The Tempest. At the age of 80, he was a commanding lead in this generally strong take on one of Shakespeare's last works. The modern indoor space at the Destival Theater gave this production the opportunity to do a lot more with effects to emphasize the magical qualities in the story: a hydraulic stage, extensive use of the trapdoor, dropping Ariel in from the ceiling, and top-notch lighting and sound design all added to the supernatural ambience.

August 8, 2010



Evita was a show I have never seen before. I was vaguely familiar with some of the songs, mostly from commercials for the original Broadway run years ago. It was good, not great. The Andrew Lloyd Weber rock opera score gets tiresome, for one thing. I did come away from the theater more interested in learning about the PerĂ³ns and Che Guevara, though.

About Stratford, Ontario

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