Subject: The Ontario Canada week!
Dear Ziners:

I'm back from a week in Ontario, Canada, doing theatre in two of the most scenic towns I know, Niagara on the Lake and Stratford. Once you get off the main shopping streets, both are joy to walk about. I managed 10 1/2 plays and a chamber music concert; glad I saw them all, though liked some more than others. As there is no direct transportation between the two Festivals, I used the airport shuttle - back and forth to Pearson Airport - for transportation as I did not want to rent an auto. Bus or train would have been cheaper but the shuttles worked for me.

Highlight of the Shaw Festival was the Shaw play: You Never Can Tell which was done beautifully. I also liked their try at a Brecht-Weill production: Happy End. The problem was the two female leads who had good musical comedy voices but not the chops for Weill. The Hellman play, Autumn Garden was excellent as was a new play, Belle Moral which I need to see again to totally understand. Went to the one hour noontime play, a Feydeau farce, and a Schubert chamber concert. That with accommodations featuring a view of the boat harbor and good food - I was fufilled.

I arrived in Stratford in time to for the last half of The Tempest, a farewell performance of long time actor William Hutt. Also I was able to get a ticket for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, a play that introduced me to professional theatre. This was a good production though it's hard to see someone other than Paul Newman as Brick - he did such a fine job with that role in the film. Coward's Fallen Angels was well done but I didn't enjoy it - my mood, I guess. It was just too much froth for me. I did like their Edward II, which I had seen previously, and Brothers Karamazov, which was a precis of the book and much easier to understand. Two short plays were combined; one was quite nice but the Ruth Draper soliloquy was all of one key and I dozed off.

I did get to several discussions, one featuring the Artistic Director who was bright, witty and charming. Did a lot of walking - my room was about two-three miles from downtown - and so was able to take full advantage of the lakeside path. I got to my favorite of all shops: Indigena, with its marvelous collection of Inuit art. I managed to keep my expenditure under $300 and it was an effort!

Flew Air Canada direct from San Francisco to Toronto which worked well. I have used American Air from San Jose but this involves a connection at Chicago, a fate to be avoided. Right now, I'm getting myself and the cat together so I can take off in October for the Middle East. The cat is not enthused.

Cheers all! Jo, back in Sunnyvale CA.