Tuesday, 15 October 2013
Friday, 30 August 2013
I do remember seeing the Sound of Music several times when it first came out, mostly, I expect, to savour Christopher Plummer. Having just read Jane Eyre, I was awash in a Mr. Rochester complex. I thought the hills really were alive with the sound of music which says more about my taste (musical and otherwise) at 16 than I would like to admit.
However, Greg and I made the hour-long trek into Charlottetown last weekend to catch a matinee performance of Evangeline at the Confederation Centre for the Arts. Several friends had highly recommended it. Ted Dykstra wrote the book, lyrics and music. The program reminded me he had co-created 2 Pianos, 4 Hands, so my expectations were raised. I was not disappointed. As it turned out, I really enjoyed it.
|The front page of the program was illustrated by Steve Adams.|
The story is based on Longfellow's epic poem of the same name and recounts the expulsion of the Acadians from the Maritimes (specifically from Grand Pre, Nova Scotia in 1755). A century or so later, this region would be coalesced along with Quebec and Ontario into the Dominion of Canada.
|From the Enrichment Guide, the painting of the 1755 expulsion is by Claude Picard.|
This is a great production of this little known, but shameful story. Canadians today can get off the hook by noting this happened when the British were running North America and were embattled with the French (and soon the Americans) for control of the continent.
Nevertheless, the themes of displacement, unfairness, prejudice, and callousness ring true on a deep level. We are reminded of other populations and races suffering similar horrors. Families, deported to various destinations in the British colonies to the south and to the French colony of Louisiana, are separated never to see one another again.
|Another painting by Claude Picard is printed in the Guide.|
However, counterbalancing the desolation and loss of home are the universal themes of undying love and the lifelong quest for the lost beloved. Newly married Gabriel Lajeunesse (played by Adam Brazier) and Evangeline Bellefontaine (Chilina Kennedy) are sent on separate ships to different destinations.
Gabriel, believing Evangeline has drowned, becomes a wandering trapper; Evangeline is certain he is alive and the story is her quest for him. I like the idea of a woman on a quest. Usually the hero is male. She has spunk and determination and compassion (kind of a toned-down Lizbeth Salander or Katniss Everdeen).
Especially poignant are the scenes where Evangeline and Gabriel share the stage but are not aware of one another and sing a duet in which they express their sense of love and loss. A lot of audience throat-clearing occurred here, and the man beside me was mopping his cheeks with his handkerchief.
Oddly, for what I expect is a largely secular audience, the religious imagery and themes are not played down (reminded me of Les Mis), but the book is true to Longfellow's poem and Acadian life, as well as raising other issues around the advisability of turning the other cheek.
The stage setting is a series of huge images and maps projected behind the actors. It's very effective. A rapidly moving red line shows the path of Evangeline's wanderings over many miles and many years.
An orchestra provides the accompaniment, and the actors aren't overly - or overtly - miked. As a result, the sound quality, as distinct from the songs themselves (which are very good), is not so overpowering that you have to block your ears.
If I had a criticism of the production, it would be that the scenes at the start showing the idyllic life in "Acadie" go on a bit too long and the use of a sort of pidgin English when the Acadians were talking to English speakers is jarring. These are minor, and not everyone might agree with me.
Apparently Mirvish Productions had to give up on the production in Toronto as it was becoming too expensive to mount so Dykstra moved it to PEI - a brilliant move for a world premier, which touches the lives of many people here who are descended from the first Acadians.
If you get a chance to go to see this production, do so. Toronto's loss is Charlottetown's gain.
|Claude Picard's rendition of life in "Acadie."|
Thursday, 1 August 2013
That's all: just cover with Saran wrap (no idea where it was made) and let it sit overnight.
I checked the dough. As promised, it had doubled in size!
Then into the pans to rise for 40 minutes and thence the oven - at 380 F, not 425 F as the recipe suggested!
which seemed to know just here she was going.
Aha, right at the back - very Anglican -
But before settling in, some more exploration would be fun. If only the organist were here, we could play a duet:
It seems I am not needed in the chancel:
This seems to be a comfortable pew:
Nice service, great hymns, thought-provoking sermon, I enjoyed the service. Now home for lunch:
Apparently Silver the cat has been in the habit of attending church for quite a while. At a recent service, she joined the priest at the front, and he picked her up and lead the congregation in singing All things bright and beautiful. I am sure she enjoyed the impromptu serenade.
At this service, she visited each pew during the sermon and of course was patted by everyone.
Alas, her people are moving, so Silver will have to join another congregation soon. She will be missed.
Thursday, 25 July 2013
And I am even worse with books. Periodically I cull the shelves and send two or three to a garage sale, then usually end up returning home with them. Why wouldn't anyone want a 2004 Tourism Guide to Saskatchewan? It's a mystery.
As I related in my last post, I am making a path in our meadow and have had the opportunity to get up close and personal with a variety of anonymous wildflowers. Well, unnamed they are no longer.
Friend John suggested I should look up the names of the plants and lo and behold, almost hidden on the book shelf between Pierre Berton's Cats I Have Loved and Known and Loved and Anthony Trollope's Barchester Towers ( both fine cottage reading) was what I was looking for: Wild Flowers of Eastern Canada.
Yes, I did pack a field guide after all - and not just any field guide, but one made even more beautiful by the watercolours (executed by Katherine Mackenzie), which adorn its pages.
It seems to have become son Tony's acquisition given his initial in masking tape on the front cover and his name in his four-year-old handwriting:
Today I leafed through it and found a whole page devoted to just what I saw yesterday: buttercups, red clover, clustered bellflower and cow vetch (aka bugle weed?), which apparently tastes like honey (and bovines love it).
Wednesday, 24 July 2013
accustomed to the grasses and wild flowers in what we now call our meadow.
So far so good. Some grasses flatten more easily than others:
It's a fair hike back up the hill:
Like the good Brownie I used to be, I tied the grass in knots to mark the way in for the next time:
Just a few steps to the deck and cold lemonade or a G&T!
The grasses play in the wind and I play in them. One should never be too old for the sheer joy of doing somewhat silly things. then I forget how old I am. It's nice.