Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Trains, plays, child labour and Alice Munro

I was actually going to title this post "Holy Crap! I met Alice Munro in Stratford!!!" but I thought that might be a tad undignified.

Now that the title is done with, though, I have no such reservations:

Holy Crap! I met Alice Munro in Stratford!!!

First off, taking the train is the best way to get to Stratford. Two hours of reading, relaxing and scenery was a great way to start the day. When you do get to Stratford, I recommend forgoing the cab. Two other playgoers offered to split a cab with me but I declined because a) I knew the theatres were at most 15 minutes walk from the train station and b) Stratford is a really beautiful city and a joy to walk around.

Second, Bartholomew Fair by Ben Jonson is a riot. Fun and bawdy, it was definitely worth the trip. Oddly enough, this is the first time this play has been performed in North America. It deserves to be done much more often.

Third, my chance meeting with the master herself. Waiting to be let into the theatre, I called my sister and said I thought I saw Alice Munro also waiting to be let in. I wasn't 100 per cent sure but I was pretty close. I didn't see her during the intermission but after the play I couldn't resist. Well, I tried to resist. I kept chickening out. I think I've mentioned before that I don't do well meeting writers I idolize. I tend to get shy and nervous. It's pretty ridiculous.

But I keep trying. So I went up to her and asked if she was Alice Munro and she was. We had a short conversation that wasn't too embarrassing. She laughed when I admitted to being starstruck. I let her know I was looking forward to her new book which is coming out this fall.

Next time, I will actually take out my camera. Baby steps.

Later, after walking up and down both sides of the river, I had a nice dinner and then wandered around downtown Stratford. You have to love a town that has three independant bookstores in it's downtown core. I stopped in front of the Avon theatre to watch a 9 year old busker playing the fiddle. He was pretty good. It did leave me wondering if the toonie I tossed his way means I support child labour?

My sisters and I are planning to go to Stratford in September to see West Side Story, a production that has been getting great reviews. This Stratford thing could become a habit.


Barbara Bruederlin said...

I do hope that you and your sisters are planning to take the train for your September Stratford trip! It really does seem like it set the tone perfectly for the day, and you are so lucky to have that great train service in your area.

But you approached Alice Munro! You are my hero! And how lovely to hear that you could make her laugh.

Well done, you!

John Mutford said...

I'd love to go to Stratford.

I'd imagine a conversation with Munro to have all the earmarks of being meaningful without actually going anywhere? Am I right?

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