Sunday, July 23, 2017

Outdoor Entertainment

It has been pretty difficult this summer to predict what will work out or not, given that it has been raining or threatened to rain most of July.  I already mentioned how I went to the Music Garden by the Waterfront but they cancelled the concert without telling anyone.  Shabby.  I still don't understand why they don't relocate the concerts to the covered stage near The Power Plant, particularly if it is only going to sprinkle (I can see this wouldn't work in a thunderstorm).  About the only thing I got out of it was a few photos of the Music Garden.

The following week, I ran up to Casa Loma with my daughter to see the Toronto Concert Orchestra playing Haydn.  She had wanted to see the castle again, so I thought it was a good enough reason to go.

But she started to get fairly antsy as we sat down and waited for the music to start.  I was actually feeling a bit cramped myself and there was still 45 minutes to go before the concert started.  And the piece I really wanted to hear was placed after the intermission.  I knew there was no way we would make it, so we just left, even though we had pretty good seats.  I am doubtful I will try this again next season, but never say never.

I have probably gone to my last Shakespeare in High Park, however.  The reviews for Twelfth Night were generally quite good (here and here and here).  I had wanted to take my son, since Twelfth Night is definitely one of Shakespeare's best comedies.  I hadn't expected the weather to clear up, as the forecast had called for rain up until the day before, but it did.  I was then really surprised there were still a few reserved seats left, but I snagged a couple.  I was kind of worn out from work and dealing with the last day of my daughter's camp, so we started off 15 minutes late.  Also, I had wanted to show my son how cool it was that there was a streetcar stop literally in a park (well, just on the edge).

However, the streetcar was quite slow (at least 10-15 minutes slower than taking the subway over would have been).  We had maybe 12 minutes before they were going to release our reserved seats!  While I have been doing a fair bit of exercise, I don't jog anymore, so running was quite difficult for me.  We got to the gate, quite sweaty in my case, at 7:46, but they took pity on us and took us to the reserved seats.

We were able to get two together, but we were pinched on both sides by people who had brought their oversized cushions.  So we had no choice but to huddle together in a very uncomfortable position.  I think perhaps years ago, everyone sat on the steps and let their legs hang down, but that isn't possible anymore.  I think the only way to do it now is to reserve 4 or 5 spaces, and bring a blanket and then you can get a bit more comfortable.  But I was in agony at about the hour mark.  It's really a shame, as there were some very lovely scenes, particularly Orsino and Viola/Cesario dancing, and this was one of the better Sir Toby's I have seen.  I was so glad when we finally hit 85 minutes (since these shows only run 90 minutes), but wait -- there were still several key plots that had to be resolved.  It actually clocked in at 105 minutes!  I really had stopped paying attention at that point (though I did note it was a little strange how quickly Sebastian moved on from Antonio, despite how they were emphasizing gender fluidity a fair bit at the end), as I was just too uncomfortable.*  It took me quite a while before I could roll to my side and then to my knees to get back up.  I think if they can't get it back to the proper run time any other way, they need to cut out the musical interlude at the beginning and then probably cut the bit where they get someone from the audience to play the priest.  On the whole, I am glad my son saw the play and enjoyed it (it was a solid production), but I think this is the last time I go, just based on my discomfort and getting old.  I was still in a bit of pain the next morning.

It's a little hard to tell, but it does appear that we'll have clear skies on July 29th, so I can plan to see Othello in Withrow Park.  Driftwood does a nice job, but just as importantly, they have lawn chairs, so seeing the show isn't such a challenge.  I'll most likely take my son to this as well.

I haven't decided about She Stoops to Conquer out in Scarborough, though this review is positive.  I really have to look into the set-up more, including what the transit options are.  However, the fact that they don't have weekend matinees (only Wed. matinees!) and the fact that it takes at least an hour to get there by transit makes it somewhat unlikely I will actually go.  I guess in general, I am getting pickier and more set in my ways as I get older, but there is still quite a bit to do outside in the summer.  Now if the weather would just cooperate a bit more...

* I think it is largely due to the actor playing Malvolio kind of stringing out his scenes.  He just had a recent health scare, and I'm glad he is back in the play, but he is not the best Malvolio I've seen.  He's probably the 4th best, or actually the worst.  He starts out so disdainful and angry, and he doesn't have a lot of room to go from there.  Now partly I am just upset that the show ran long, but Shakespeare Bash'D had the best Malvolio earlier this year.  That show ran over 2 hours and could have used a few cuts, but at least I wasn't in pain throughout!

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