On Saturday, June 18, 2016, 57 Riverfrontiers (students, volunteers and family members) headed up in a big convoy to Stratford what what we decided last year would be our annual end-of-season reward for all our hard work. Last year, we came up to see Hamlet, but this year, we kicked it up a notch, and more than half of us stayed for TWO plays. This year, knowing we’re doing our own version of Narnia: The Early Chronicles in our coming season, we were all super-excited to see The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. But Macbeth was also pretty irresistible.
Stopping along the Avon for a picnic is a happy way to begin the day in Stratford. Everyone wants to run and climb and chat after the longish drive, and it’s relaxing and friendly. Not to mention that we have a lot of rehearsal-deprived kids who just need time to talk everyone’s ears off and spend some time much-missed friends! It’s very, very tempting to go up by bus so that they can all hang out the entire time, I have to admit…
I regret that I missed Josh actually IN the tree (got fun shots of that last year, and would have liked to compare), but I did get a very dynamic landing.
Matt, too exhausted from his travels to continue, being assisted by Julian….
Chilling at the picnic table.
I’m not entirely sure what’s going on here, but I’m told it’s “artistic.”
Caleb, the wise and serene, and friends.
Ukulele jamming appears to be a growing RTC thing…
Parents are sometimes reluctant to be included in photos, but Julie and Nicole were laughingly persuaded. I think Kathryn would have been willing, but she was distracted by a cygnet.
As you can see, it was an adorable distraction.
So we headed to the Avon Theatre for the first show – with a quick stop or two into some shops before we got there. As I said, we were genuinely excited to see what this one was going to be all about. We had really nice seats, near the back of the Orchestra level at the centre of the theatre, and had a good view of the stage.
After the show, we all went up to the lounge on the second floor, like salmon swimming upstream, and took our seats to wait to see Ruby Joy (Susan) and Brad Hodder (Maugrim), and ask them all the questions we could think of. We were greeting by a groups and schools staff member, Luisa, who prepped us for the talk, and was very excited to hear that we were also going to be producing a Narnia play.
Ruby and Brad were great, and had lots to tell us about their roles, their careers, life in Stratford, the challenges of portraying a child or a wolf on stage, and so on. I think there was a lot of interest in the directorial approach to the play, and a lot of people from our group turning over in their mind what did and didn’t quite fit with their concept of Narnia. There was a lot of interest in the stage combat – there’s a wonderful fight scene with Maugrim and Peter.
Afterwards, we gathered on the steps of the Avon for a group shot. This isn’t where we would have really LIKED to take the picture, but we weren’t going to be the whole group for the next play at the Festival Theatre, so we couldn’t get the shot there at the big Stratford sign with all of us. The steps of the Avon it was. Not all of the families stayed for the photos, but we had a sizable chunk of us there – best we could do this time!
After the first play and talkback, we all scattered for a bit of shopping and some dinner – which in some cases was VERY rushed – we have to learn our lesson and make reservations, especially in the prime of the season on a Saturday evening!
Next up after dinner – Macbeth, with those who were left. I believe there were 36 of us at that point. Some of us made it to the theatre with about four minutes to spare, and regrettably, the photo opportunities at this point were very slim indeed. I have been given a few to share from here!
The really interesting thing with Macbeth is that we were simply too busy this season to find time to teach the play. A very few of the students had already studied it, but by no means even half of them had. Those who were with us last year when we did Outrageous Fortune had a taste of the play, but the vast majority of students walked into it with no more than a casual understanding of the plot line, and no in-depth study whatsoever. And yet – they were captivated. You’ve heard over and over again that Shakespeare is meant to be seen, not read – and that’s what happened here – the story was carried beautifully, and the kids were fascinated and pulled completely in. The witches were extremely creepy, the story fast-paced and action-packed, the actors compelling.
When the play let out, of course, it was quite dark. We didn’t get more photos at that point – most of us daunted by the thought of the drive home, with a few happy people spending the night.
Shopping at the Festival gift shops is always so much fun. It’s always nice to have a souvenir of a fun shared experience. Lots of us went home with books, tshirts and mugs, and so on.
We have to say, though, Stratford, someone definitely dropped the ball with this one…”where” art thou? Ouch.
At last, we piled into our cars and headed off to home (or our hotels) with the peaceful tranquility of the swans at night seeing us off…
Until next year….and what will it be for us next season? To be determined….
With our Stratford trip, we have one more 13th season event, our end-of-year picnic/BBQ on Saturday this coming weekend. At that time, we’ll say goodbye to the 13th season – but farewell to very, very few students, because almost every single one of them is coming back. We’ll also have the opportunity to greet a few new faces, as some of our waiting list families will be joining us this time.
After that, Riverfront will take a hiatus, and things will get a bit more quiet here on the website, with the exception of a chat about our Car Wash on July 16th, and some fundraising invitations. We’ll be working hard to raise money for next season’s endeavours!
During the summer, behind the scenes, work will be underway to finish adapting The Magician’s Nephew and The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe for our February 2017 production of Narnia: The Early Chronicles, and to modify our own RTC original production, Princesses Aplenty, for a larger and full-company cast. Both of these shows will be taking place at the Olde Walkerville Theatre. Save the dates! The last weekend of February for Narnia, and the last weekend of May for Princesses Aplenty! Our Juniors will be performing The Best Christmas Pageant Ever in December 2016 at Paulin Memorial Church. Stay tuned for more information!