by Irena Syrokomla
Stratford for Asia – fundraising for tsunami appeal.
"The magnitude of the destruction in southeast Asia and the
long-needs of the people devastated by tsunami are almost unimaginable" said
Richard Monette, Artistic Director of Stratford Festival. Within days the
world community rushed with help and donations to assist the victims. Never
before has such a catastrophe occurred, never before has such an
overwhelming response to people in need been experienced. "Stratford for
Asia" was only one of many cultural events to raise funds for the relief of
the tsunami devastation, and it came together within days after the actual
occurrence, -- no money was spent on advertising, as people learned about
this concert through E-mail and community billboards. By January 30 the
Festival Theatre was full!!
The emcee of the event was Peter Mansbridge, who had just
returned from his trip to Asia, and was still shaken by what he had seen
there. It was appropriate, as he indicated; after all he is one of the
Stratford’s residents. The well-known actors of the Festival donated their
time and talents: Cynthia Dale, Laird MacKintosh and Bruce Dow, among
others. St.Mary’s Children’s Choir sang the opening and closing songs. The
warmly applauded quartet of Local MPs including Mayor of Stratford, Dan
Mathieson, sang "Brush Up Your Shakespeare". It is amazing what politicians
can do when a good cause calls!
What can I say, the theatre was filled to capacity and
people lined up with further donations. There are, and still will be, other
concerts or fundraising opportunities for this cause. It will take years to
rebuild the devastated regions and we, the Western World, are so rich in
comparison to those nations. So, please, give generously.
Theatre & Company in Kitchener
– Mary’s Wedding –
Season after season Theatre & Company is evolving
into better and more ambitious productions. After some changes in the cast
and production team the theatre is progressing impressively, this time
staging a rather unusual Canadian play: Mary’s Wedding. It is very
Canadian, written by Stephen Massicotte (his first full scale play), set in
Saskatchewan in July 1920, the night before, you guessed it, Mary’s wedding.
is directed by Stuart Scadron-Wattles and has only two actors, Janet Porter
as Mary and Brett Christopher as Charlie. The entire 1-¾ hour play with no
intermission rests on their shoulders, two monumental parts, demanding in
artistic expression and emotionally draining. They have no break, no moment
of relaxation and both carry it off with grace and respect for the smallest
detail. Both young actors are absolutely amazing.
The story is about a young girl, Mary, and a farm boy
Charlie, how they met, fell in love, and the time when he enlisted with the
Strathcona Regiment in the First World War. It is a mix of dreams and
reminiscences, nightmares and letters. The horror of the war and battles,
the mud, ditches, charges of the cavalry, dying solders and dying horses,
shooting, praying and longing for home – somehow with the light and sound
effects, and primarily the acting – all of it came through to the silent and
transported back in time audience. Massicotte apparently travelled to France
and explored the region where the battles took place and actually discovered
the remains of the war from almost 90 years ago, shell holes, craters,
rusted shell castings and graves. Far away from Vimy Ridge in February 2005
in Kitchener, Ontario, we all sat in dead silence experiencing the horror of
that war and finally realizing that Charlie never returned to Saskatchewan
to Mary, and that Mary’s wedding in 1920 was going to be to another
The next production of Theatre & Company is A Walk
in the Woods opening March 24 and running to April 16. The play was
nominated for Pulitzer Prize in 1987 and Tony Awards in 1988. Box office
phone number is 519-571-0928 or web site
The Music Room and Dr. Jan Narveson in Waterloo.
Almost every weekend and often during the week as well there
is music in the residence of Jan Narveson in Waterloo. The Music Room
is located on the top of his garage and is large enough for about 50 music
lovers, some of them very regular visitors, some coming only every now and
then. It is a chamber music heaven or retreat, offering a very unique
experience in music appreciation.
On January 20 evening Elena Klyucharova and Andrey Tikkhonov
shared the program – I have written about them in February 2002 – Elena with
her classical piano performance of Chopin and Schumann and Andrey playing
jazz. They came from Ukraine and settled in Waterloo, giving concerts and
teaching at the Beckett School of Music. Over three years later they feel
more like they belong and their styles are showing progressive maturity.
Elena played a large Schumann’s Carnival Op.9 without
the score and with practiced confidence, although at times a bit
choppy. Chopin’s Grand Polonaise Brilliante was smoother, although it
lacked necessary maturity; Elena is very young. Andrey entertained the
audience with some well-known jazz pieces and some of his own compositions.
He played in some local restaurants in the past couple of years and felt
more comfortable talking to the gathering.
Outside the snow was getting deeper. How many more weeks
till spring comes?
Future programs available at