We took in two plays by Shakespeare, both of which were excellent -- the ever-popular King Lear and the much less frequently staged King John. Colm Feore played the title role in King Lear. I've been a big fan of his movie and TV work for years so it was a tremendous thrill to see him live on stage.
[Stephen Ouimette (Fool) and
Colm Feore (Lear)]
Neither of us knew the plot of King John so the play was essentially brand new as we watched (a rare experience with Shakespeare). The always-excellent Tom McCamus played King John as a crazy weirdo with a fundamentally vicious and ruthless nature.
[Graham Abbey (Philip the Bastard) and
Tom McCamus (King John)]
The musical we saw was Crazy for You, an amalgam of various Gershwin hits held together by a ridiculous but funny plot. The dancing and staging were super high energy, to put it mildly. We were exhausted just watching them!
[Josh Franklin (Bobby Child) and
Natalie Daradich (Polly Baker)]
Seana McKenna outdid herself as Mother Courage in Bertolt Brecht's Mother Courage and Her Children. It's always good to be reminded of the uncomfortable truth that ultimately we are all collaborators in our own oppression.
[Seana McKenna (Mother Courage)]
The only play we didn't think too much of was the Restoration comedy The Beaux' Stratagem. It was way too arch and brittle for my taste but then again, who really cares -- I got to see Colm Feore again, LOL!
[Colm Feore (Archer) and
Mike Shara (Aimwell)]
We both adored Christina, The Girl King about the cross-dressing lesbian Queen of Sweden who lived in the mid-1600s. This recent Canadian play was written in French by the Quebec playwright Michel Marc Bouchard and performed in English for the first time at Stratford. It showed how Christina managed to successfully outmanoeuvre the Swedish court and the Lutheran church to become "the most free woman in the world, answerable neither to God nor man." Yay! Go, sistah, go!
[Photo credits: #1, #2 and #4 by David Hou; #3 and #6 by Cylla von Tiedemann; #5 by Michael Cooper; all © Stratford Festival]