I had my annual girl’s day-trip to Stratford yesterday. The three of us all sing in the same choir, and this is the third or fourth year that we’ve done this trip to see a matinée at North America’s pre-eminent Shakespearean festival theatre, just over an hour from Toronto.
We decided to see Mary Stuart, the first non-Shakespeare play we’ve seen together. Written by Friedrich Schiller at the end of the 18th century, it examines the politics and pathos surrounding Mary, Queen of Scots and Elizabeth, Queen of England, and imagines a meeting between the two women during Mary’s last days.
The play was translated/adapted by Peter Oswald and is very pleasing. The modern text has moments of humour as well as sadness and terror. The cast is superb, led by Seana McKenna as Elizabeth and Lucy Peacock as Mary. This video is a clip of Peacock from the first scene.
And here’s McKenna as Elizabeth:
The supporting cast was also superb and included Brian Dennehy as the aging Earl of Shrewsbury and Geraint Wyn Davies as the Earl of Leicester.
On the more personal side, we once again took a picnic lunch and sat at a table on the banks of the Avon River. While there were lots of ducks, we only saw one of the famous swans.
The rain pretty much held off until we headed back to stash our lunch stuff. We ended up hanging out in the car, eating cookies and chatting for a few minutes until the rain lightened up enough for us to make a dash for the Tom Patterson theatre.
After the play, with the rain stopped and humidity under control, we headed to Down the Street, our usual post-theatre resto for a drink and a burger. We were back in Toronto by 8:30, another great outing. Thanks to Mary for driving and Kathleen for the beverages and for booking the tickets.
- Strong performances, great design team create theatrical brilliance (lfpress.com)
- Stratford Festival’s celebrity power (macleans.ca)