Saturday, October 10, 2015

Lightning strikes twice

Despite the fact that so many events come and go in the blink of an eye, every now and then there is a follow up and you can make it on the second go-around.

In Toronto, Soulpepper seems to do the most remounts of their most popular shows.  I saw Spoon River on its second go-around (and it appears it will be coming back for another short run in November -- it is worth seeing once at least).  They also are remounting The Play's the Thing, though it is a slightly different version with slightly different cast.  I just missed out on their remounting of Angels in America, but I wouldn't be surprised if they do that again in the next few years.  I will ask them if they are going to remount The Norman Conquests (another thing I just missed out on) but I think that is pretty unlikely.

Sometimes you do see remounts at the Toronto Fringe.  I suppose it isn't that hard for a company to enter the lottery and then, if they win, to dust off their notes and put on the show again in a setting that won't force them into a lot of debt.  I saw Twelfth Night that way at this year's Fringe and I think even Merry Wives of Windsor was a remount.  I can see how this would be annoying if Fringe became mostly remounts, but the proportion of new shows remains quite high.  I did see that the up-and-coming Red Light District Theatre Company remounted The Resistable Rise of Arturo Ui the hard way, which is quite impressive.  I felt kind of bummed that I missed Arturo Ui. (I missed it in Chicago at least once, and it is one of the last major Brecht plays I haven't seen -- aside from Galileo, which I think I will see in Chicago this spring.)  Then when I was looking at Red Light's website, I was puzzled, since they said the remount had happened in late 2014, and I am sure I would have heard about it and gone, but all the other evidence suggests that it actually ran in late 2013.  So I am unfortunate not to have been around, but it was not a personal failing that I missed it...

Of all the various second chances, I was probably most happy about the Arcadia transfer from Shaw.  I can think of a few other things at Shaw and Stratford I'd like to see, but I don't think Mirvish did all that well with Arcadia, so I am not holding my breath (to see if they do any more of these high-brow transfers).  Still, I am grateful for the one that they did do.  I've now managed to see Stoppard's Arcadia in three quite good productions.

There is an interesting situation in Toronto where there were 3 monologues from Alan Bennett's Talking Heads performed in 2014 and I was a bit sorry I missed that (I think I learned about it on the last weekend).  Well, it turns out that this time around, they are re-doing the first 3 monologues and have added another 3.  I don't know if they are doing all 6 from the first BBC series or they are mixing them up from both series.  (As it happens I do have the whole series on DVD, but I think at this point, I will hold off from watching the originals until after seeing them live at the Campbell House Museum.)  Despite not having a discount for going to both evenings, I think I will try to get to all of them.

I guess if you really stretch the meaning of second-chance, I am pretty excited about Stratford tackling Ibsen's John Gabriel Borkman, since that was at Soulpepper a few years back (in a completely different production) and I didn't expect to see it anywhere in the region any time soon.

I see a couple of upcoming remounts in Vancouver as well.  The company that did Rajiv Joseph's Gruesome Playground Injuries is coming back with the same cast and director.  It is unlikely I will make it, but if I am traveling for work and have some flexibility, I will see what I can do.  I also see Michel Tremblay's For the Pleasure of Seeing Her Again is back with the same cast, though technically this is playing in Richmond at the Gateway Theatre.  This was an interesting entree (for me) into Tremblay's work, but I guess I wouldn't call it one of his essential plays.  If interested, you have about 3 weeks to go.

Now, I thought we were going to make it to the last weekend of The Greeks in Ottawa.  Well, we set out fairly early in the morning.  Traffic on the Don Valley Parkway was going pretty well until we got near Don Mills Road and Eglinton.  It continued to be pretty heavy driving even a few km along the 401 but it was starting to lighten up (fortunately we were going east -- the traffic west looked like a total disaster).  Then my daughter said she was starting to feel a bit woozy, but then she was ok, then she said she was definitely starting to feel sick.  Unfortunately, we missed an easier turn off and ended up on a terrible side road (Brock?) that had very few opportunities to pull over.  So we got out and walked around.  I thought we would keep going, but even before we left the parking lot, she threw up.  (Fortunately, we travel with a bowl for these emergencies.)  It just became so apparent that this trip was not going to happen.  She wailed and wailed about not going to Ottawa, but we turned around.  And indeed she was carsick a second time as we were getting close to home.

I had hoped she had largely gotten over this, but apparently not.  The travel sickness medicine does not work for her (usually it makes her more sick) and you just never know.  We drove out to the zoo without any problem, and some other trips were fine.  But it always feels like you are rolling the dice, and severe car sickness is always on the table.  So obviously we plan fewer and fewer road trips (this is almost completely different from how I grew up).  I've scratched that Cleveland/Detroit trip off the map, and so November is when we will try to go to Ottawa (perhaps via Kingston by train and then flying back).  I will go to Oshawa but either by myself or with my son.  There is no point in trying to drive down to Hamilton at the moment.  So I am kind of at my wits end.  I just hope that things get a bit better as she gets older and we can crack this.  Otherwise, we just are not going to be making a lot of trips, since I find it so incredibly stressful.  So I have to say my entire weekend is turned upside down.  It's a bit melodramatic to say it is ruined, but I am pretty disappointed in how things have turned out.*  I know for sure lightning isn't going to strike thrice.

Or will it?  The Greek exhibit will be at the Field Museum in Chicago in March/April, which might just work.  And then the National Geographic Museum in D.C. over the summer.  I sort of feel like this whole thing is just taunting me, so maybe I shouldn't tempt fate, but perhaps I will see about making it another time.  I do hope that if we more or less stick to places we can fly (and then don't need a long cab ride in -- which probably does knock DC off the list, since Porter only flies to Dulles) then we can do at least some travel this summer.  I guess we'll see.

* I guess on a positive note, we were only about an hour into the journey, so it wasn't like we had to turn around and drive 2 or 3 hours further.  Still, if we had gotten that far, we might have just pushed on. Since we did cancel everything so early, I got a partial refund at the hotel and even from ZipCar.  Still, I would have much rather made it all the way there, even though it was a lot of driving and would have been quite a bit Sunday coming back.

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