Dawn Reader

Dawn Reader
from Open Door Coffee Co.; Hudson, OH; Oct. 26, 2016

Monday, August 10, 2015

Stratford Sundries 7

1. We're home safely--about 11 last night. Ohio residents (former and current) will enjoy this: The very moment we crossed the line from Michigan, it started to rain--the only rain on our entire drive. Fortunately, it did not last long.

2. On Saturday night we saw a terrific production of She Stoops to Conquer (Oliver Goldsmith, 1773) at the Avon Theatre downtown. They had a huge turntable on the stage and used it to rotate set pieces around (surely the same device where sat the eponymous carousel in the musical we'd seen earlier in the week). It's basically a play about a prank--fooling a young man into thinking that he's in an inn when in fact he's in the house of the family of the young woman he's come to court. (On a family recommedation--he's never seen her.) He behaves boorishly (treating the family as if they were inn servants), and it takes a long, long, long time to realize what's happened.

The principals were outstanding (especially young Brad Hodder, who played the Deceived One)--as were the minor players. Time flew along. The picture shows long-time Stratford favorite Lucy Peacock (on the left) and Maev Beaty (who played The Young Woman). Beaty also played Miep Gies in The Diary of Anne Frank, and Anne herself (Sara Farb) played a somewhat obnoxious young lady in this one. Not Anne Frankian at all!

3. On Sunday morning, we cleared out of Mercer Hall Inn (the place we almost always stay) and drove about a dozen miles over to lovely St. Mary's, where they have an amazing Carnegie Library (stone exterior) and a Coffee Culture, where we sit and eat and read until time to head back to Stratford for our final show: The Alchemist (Ben Jonson, 1610), at 2 p.m.

The story is about three con artists (2 men, 1 woman) who, throughout the play, con a handful of deserving suckers--from the arrogant to the pompously pious to the heartless rich to the greedy, etc. The device? The alchemist's (supposed) ability to transform base metals to gold.

As Love's Labour's Lost, I thought, is sort of the grandfather of all Bromance comedies, so The Alchemist is a distant relative of all con-artist films (think: Oceans 11, etc.).

Great performances by everyone in a comedy in which flocks of words fly about the stage like startled birds.

4. And then--impossibly--it was all over, and we were in the car (about 4:30 p.m.), heading for Hudson, Ohio, awash in memories. This was one of the best seasons since we started coming up here every summer, beginning in 2001.

I remarked to Joyce that being there in Stratford is my idea of heaven: great plays every day, a little town with everything I love in easy walking distance (bookstores, coffee shops, kitchen stores, etc.), the streets full of people talking about Hamlet and books (I kid you not!). (And wireless that usually works.)

And--of course--best of all: Sitting in the dark, watching the wonders on the stage while holding the hand of Love itself.

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