Ever since James and I first met and we discovered our mutual love of musical theatre, James has been raving about "Ragtime." It's his favourite musical. He saw the original production, mounted in Toronto, when it first opened back when he was in high school. We've had at least two copies of the soundtrack over the past 10 years, both well worn and scratched. I love the songs, and I have been waiting all this time to be able to see a production.
Well, finally the Shaw festival mounted it this year on their mainstage, and we quickly snatched up the best seats in the house for our ninth anniversary last night.
It. Was. Awesome.
There were only a handful of plot points that were new to me that aren't revealed in the songs, but that didn't matter. Much of the acting was superb - I haven't seen the like in a long time. I hung off of every note of every song. My heart raced and I clutched James' hand and smiled from ear to ear at the rush of seeing it come to life.
More than all this, however, I was suddenly acutely aware of what a personal experience theatre is, over its two-dimensional cousin, film. I've always loved theatre, but I've never felt like there were people up there on the stage, sharing something very intimate with me. The flat image on the film screen seems so distant and impersonal now. At a time in my life when I am simplifying, and longing for community, and wanting to relate with people, theatre holds so much more for me now, and represents all these longings.
On an unrelated note, my mom graciously came along to take care of Juliette, since the theatre is 2 1/2 hours away from our home, and Juliette needed to nurse much of the day, and during intermission. While she was walking the streets of Niagara-on-the-Lake, she got to witness a sort of gourmet dinner flash mob known as "Dinner en Blanc". It was started in Paris, France 24 years ago. White tables were set up down the main street, each with 8 white chairs around it. At precisely 8pm, over 1000 people dressed head to toe in white descended, bringing their own table settings and picnic foods, and sat to enjoy their meal and a wine tasting in the middle of town. Guests were revealed the secret dining location just 30 minutes before the event began. My mom said it was absolutely incredible. Here is a photo of last years, which had an attendance of 400. Imagine this amount of people, doubled.
I happened to be dressed in white from head to toe, and I so wanted to jump in the fun. But Ragtime was calling and seats at the dinner were pre-booked. Note to self - something to participate in in the future (maybe in Paris?)