May 24th, 2014:
So, we made it back to the States. Canada, in a few words, was amazing, and the shows, and the experiences our group had with them, not only made a lasting impression, but formed positive memories for all of our group. The only bad part about Canada was leaving it (also the lack of abundance of moose roaming around). Stratford was definitely a trip worth taking, and I would do it again in a heartbeat; though, that statement is a falsity, since the 2014 trip can never be replicated, with its wonderful group leaders and colorful group, the the sheer timing and random happy surprises that show up (more than prime seats in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”). The Stratford 2014 trip can never be replicated, and was certainly an experience that can never be fully explained or related, in the sheer enjoyment of the trip, unless you experienced it for yourself.
Love and thanks for the warm memories from London–
Best Trip Ever!
Going to Canada has been one of the most fascinating decisions I have ever made. I’ve made a couple of new friends with some of the girls and have gotten close to the friends I already had who had come on this trip.
The shows we were saw were amazing. My favorite was definitely A Midsummer Night’s Dream. We were invited to sit in the gutter of the stage at the Festival Theatre which brought us as close as you could get to the stage. We even got to be onstage for a couple of seconds.
As for food, it was overall pretty delicious. We went to a variety of places that ranged from your traditional diner to an upscale burger place to a pub. Every restaurant had its own uniqueness to it that made the food to the atmosphere an overall pleasant experience.
Overall, this experience was one of the best I’ve ever had. This trip has made me want to pick up a possible theatre minor because it’s one of the most intriguing things I have discovered in my life. I loved everything from the shopping to the food to the shows. I wouldn’t trade any part of this experience for my life.
In Canada Thursday we ate brunch at Let Them Eat Cake. I had a blueberry muffin the size of my head. After brunch we started our chocolate tour and then Holly and I went back to the hotel to change into our Theatre clothes. Then we met the group in front of the Avon Theatre where we saw Alice Through the Looking Glass. The show was very out there but overall enjoyable. I mean, some might find it childlike but if you think about it’s a story through a seven-year-old’s eyes. It was really cute and fun with the jelly beans and bubbles. I loved the costumes and style of the set. You can tell it was a different world when she went through the glass, which for me is the main thing that needed to be as realistic as possible. After the show I went back to the Parlour Hotel to take a little nap before dinner. After my nap I met my group at a sandwich place but we ended up leaving there and eating at Downie Street Burger. There we ordered burgers, fries, onion rings, and so on. We also ordered poutine for all of us to try. I’m not a big fan of gravy which Holly thought was crazy since I’m from the south. I ended up just eating the cheese and fries, which were good. After dinner we walked to the Tom Patterson Theatre to see King John. On the way we saw swans and ducks. The show is about King John fighting the French. My favorite character was probably Phillip the Bastard because he was funny with his comments. The show was very talky and his comments and some of the King’s helped with bringing the show along for me. The costumes were dead on for that time period and I loved the use of candle light for the show. It gave it a authentic feel and made it seem like we were seeing how Shakespeare might have put on his plays. Overall it was a good show. Friday we saw Man of La Mancha which was amazing as well. The actors were all very talented singers. In the last scene of the play I got goosebumps. They were that good. This trip has been amazing and I’m glad that I took the opportunity to go.
Tuesday night, after an exhausting day of traveling we ended with the musical Crazy For You. It was just the thing we needed to wake us up. The show kept us on the edge of our seats the whole time; we never wanted it to end.
The story is about a banker’s son who is sent to foreclose on a property out in Nevada. Little did he know that it was a theatre and that he would be a major contributor to its revival all to an impress the only girl in town.
We couldn’t have gone to see a better show for our first night in Stratford.
In Canada Wednesday we ate breakfast at Joe’s Diner before we went on our Costume Warehouse Tour. There we saw where they keep millions of various costumes, props, shoes, wigs, furniture, and so much more. Memorable pieces were a dress made for Tempest, a dress made for Cleopatra, a cloak and mask for Macbeth, Guinevere’s tent in Camelot, two trees used in Camelot, and a cutoff head used for portraying an actor’s head being cut off. After shopping around and getting our chocolate tour tickets in Stratford we went to the Festival Theatre to see King Lear at 2:00. The show was mainly about a King who goes insane and has three daughters, only one of which actually cares for him. Then throw in two brothers to a noble man, one legitimate and the other illegitimate. The one legitimate son who is forced to hide away from his father actually turns out to be the one who nurses his father and the illegitimate is a double crosser. Everyone ends up dying, and the part I still cringe over was when the father of the two sons gets his eyes cut out. Overall it was a good show. After dinner at the Parlour Hotel we went to the Festival Theatre again to see A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The best part about it is the seven of us students got to be a part of the show as wedding guests. We sat in the gutters on cushions and were on stage for a about two seconds. It was amazing! The show was a modern version of Shakespeare’s play where Lysander is a girl and Titania is a boy. It was also a play putting on play. The children who played the fairies and changeling were so adorable and talented. Overall it was also a good production as well, luckily no one noticed that I tripped getting up when I was pulled on stage for the dancing sequence.
It has been quite an eventful day….and week! I am exhausted but I can honestly say that I would be perfectly fine with staying just a little longer. I would absolutely love to be able to see all of the shows here at the festival. There are some show that haven’t even opened yet that I think look awesome. All of the show we have seen on this trip have been great. Some I didn’t like as much as others, but I really enjoyed having the opportunity to see all of these shows. I really enjoyed the last show, Man of La Mancha. I thought it was really good and I liked that we started and ended the trip with musicals. I also loved how much time we had here to walk around and shop. I really wish it would have been warmer outside so I could just sit outside. It really is quite beautiful here and I would have loved to just sit and look around. I have had so much fun here and learned a lot. I think this festival is an incredible thing and I love how important it is to the community. Everyone has something to say about it and everyone goes to the theater. That is an amazing thing. I think it would be an incredible opportunity to be part of the festival and I would love to come back sometime. Maybe I will. Go see a play!
I can’t believe it’s already time to go home. Time truly does move fast when you’re having fun. Our last day here in Startford was probably one of my favorites. Waking up a little bit later in the morning was nice and on top of that we had a wonderful lunch altogether before heading out on the town to enjoy more of the sights, souvenirs, and the Chocolate Tour! My favorite part of the chocolate tour was a small tea shop where I was able to select any 50 gram bag of loose leaf tea that had some sort of chocolate flavor to it. The ladies that helped me make my decision also made me a cup of chocolate strawberry tea for me to sample. That cup of ultimately lead me to use my tickets for two bags of chocolate flavored tea. I don’t think I’ve ever bought as much chocolate as I did today, however, it’s not all for me. Part of the fun of shopping was also trying to find a few gifts for family and for myself. With a little time to spare before we all met up at a small ice cream shop, I finally caved and bought myself a stuffed moose doll with a red sweater that send “Canada” on it (his name is Barnalby). However, my favorite purchase is a small children’s book that I bought called The Moose is Loose. I cannot wait to take that book back home and read it to some of my kids that I work with at my daycare and I’m looking forward to reading that book to my future classroom. This trip has really taught me a lesson about buying souvenirs and that I want to purchase something that I will always have to look back on my time here in Stratford. It’s been an amazing trip and I’ve had some amazing experiences. However, I’m still not sure if I’m ready for the flight home or the 5:00 am wake up call that will be happening in a few hours….
Today was our last full day in Canada. I don’t want to leave. I have had such an amazing time here. Today we had a later start during the day and spent it finishing up some last minute shopping for friends and family. While we walked around Stratford we met a lot of very sweet people who were very proud of the Stratford Festival. I loved how delighted everyone seemed to be. While today was more of a relaxed day we did know we had one more show so after our shopping we were able to go back to our hotel where we began to pack and change for dinner. We are now at the Avon Theatre, and we are ready to see Man of La Mancha. This is another show that I am unfamiliar with, but I am very excited to see! I do know that I will have one question tomorrow morning before we leave other than begging for more sleep. I know I’ll be saying, “Can we stay here forever?”
Yesterday was filled with plans as we began our day with brunch at a restaurant called Let Them Eat Cake. The breakfast food was fantastic and we then began our chocolate tour and shopping. We found some great little shops filled with items that we could purchase. It was so great to see how welcoming everyone was and willing to help. We had two shows that we saw so we had to be prepared for quite a bit of sitting. I had not seen Alice Through the Looking Glass or King John, so I was really excited to be able to get a chance to see both. Alice was more geared towards children so it had a lot more kid focused humor and it broke the fourth wall quite a bit. While I did not find this show to be one of my favorites, I thought the production was truly great. The costumes and set really brought you to where Alice was on her journey. In between the shows we were able to walk by the river which was absolutely beautiful. This was quite a funny experience because we found a little duck family which we decided represented ourselves because of a joke that began at the beginning of our trip. During this walk, we finally realized that we were starting to slip into accents which was found out when I said, “Oh dear.” This walk to the third theatre was quite an adventure. Finally we arrived at King John. This was one of the longest shows I think we were to watch. While I didn’t understand the show completely, I loved how the lighting was done for the show since they tried to focus on doing the show in candle light. I thought this was so neat. The costumes were also spectacular for this show. After this show, we returned to the hotel to prepare for our last day in Canada.