A story about a trip with an image from Google to go with.

Once my sister and I drove and rode to Stratford, Ontario. Stratford is a small town west of London (Ontario) and a good ways west of Toronto. During the season, there is a drama festival there. There are several theatres in town, all of which give productions in repertory. So one can see things, many things, in only a few days’ time.

The dramas are world-class. They are reviewed in publications from around the world. Production quality is amazing. Whether in the round or behind a proscenium, set pieces move like magic, becoming places, overall, of many levels for actors’ interactions and actions. I say actions because, when histories or tragedies are given, the staged fighting is visceral and intense.

In addition to after-theatre fare, a reward in Stratford is walking through the town during the day. There are many places to visit. Many stores, of course, some selling products in pewter whose source was Saint Mary’s, the next-door town. But it was the bookstores that really were the treat. There were several and, whether new or used, the variety and quality of inventory was so delightful to ingest.

My sister and I saw a production of The Tempest that we still talk about with wistful fondness. And we talk about our last dinner in Stratford. We were both poor (I’m still poor), but I let Amy talk me into going to an extravagant French-styled restaurant. (Mostly, Stratford has an anglified feel.) She was right about making the investment of money and time. The meal experience was fantastic. Fantastique, I guess.

During this trip, my sister talked with me a great deal about a man she had met and was planning to marry. I didn’t know much about him, since Amy and I were living in different cities; she was busy working after graduate school, while I was busy getting ready to go. But I learned much now and was pleased she was willing to share so much. She also told me how this man reminded her of me. Always something impressive for a brother to hear.

A pre-Raphaelite painting depicting the play The Tempest. The discovery of Bermuda by the English (in a shipwreck-ing storm) was the inspiration for the play.

(www.johnwilliamwaterhouse.com at Google Images)

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