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January, 2007 - Nr. 1


The Editor
Happy New Year
10th K-W Christkindl Market
André Rieu in Toronto
German EU Presidency
K-W & Beyond
Dick reports...
Sybille reports
Ham Se det jehört?
TSO's January Listings
Via Salzburg
One Day - One Movie
Germany on Broadway
Use it or Loose it
Sport for Peace
Future Soccer Glory
Stop Fish Virus

KW and Beyond

  by Irena Syrokomla

Irena Syrokomla

It is always a pleasure to receive brochures from the Stratford Festival and the Shaw Festival, to look over the content, smile at the old friends and be surprised by additions, and then begin planning for the summer, marking the calendar and calling friends. Both festivals are within driving distance be it from Toronto, Kitchener-Waterloo or London. They also attract a fair number of American visitors.

Stratford Festival of Canada – 2007

Richard Monette is celebrating his 14th season as Artistic Director and 34 years with the Festival. He is planning to wrap up his tenure by the end of 2007 and is taking pleasure in the current selection of plays. Unquestionably, he has left an individual mark on Stratford and its character. Our best wishes for this season and for the future, whatever it will be!

The classic Shakespeare plays are King Lear with Brian Bedford in the title role and directing as well. The story of an aging monarch dividing his inheritance among three daughters with all its madness, loss and reconciliation, may especially appeal to those in the estate planning stage of life. The Merchant of Venice, a rarely staged play features Graham Greene in the role of Shylock. "A pound of flesh" quotation comes from this controversial play. Othello is another monumental play, full of the human emotions of jealousy, anger and despair. It seems that some feelings and marital problems are not the invention of modern days and Dr. Phil, but existing in all times and all cultures. The choice of actors: Philip Akin as Othello, Jonathan Goad as Iago and Claire Jullien as Desdemona is promising. Finally The Comedy of Errors, well known and often played, will be directed by Richard Monette himself with a number of familiar and recognized actors like Tom McManus and David Snelgrove. To complete the Shakespearian theme there is a one-actress play by Vern Thiesses Shakespeare’s Will, a story of Anne Hathaway as seen on the eve of William Shakespeare’s funeral. Seana McKenna will appear in the role of Anne Hathaway.

As for entertainment: Oklahoma by Rogers and Hammerstein with all its music and lyrics is going to run from April to November. My One and Only, with music by George Gershwin and Cynthia Dale in the singing and dancing role is another wonderful musical to which we can look forward. An Ideal Husband by Oscar Wilde will feature a wonderful selection of artists: Richard Monette directing, set by highly acclaimed Michael Gianfrancesco, actors: Brian Bedford, Tom McManus and others.

Several plays with more depth and requiring some preparation will be performed: To Kill a Mocking Bird with Peter Donaldson in the main role, is based on the Pulitzer Prize winning novel and some actual events from Alabama in the time of the Great Depression. Of Mice and Men – based on John Steinbeck’s novel, also from the Depression era is one of those plays that reach deeply into your soul and ask questions that have no answers. I am looking forward to Graham Greene and Nicolas Van Burek in main roles. A Delicate Balance by Edward Albee – I am always looking forward to another play of this great playwright of modern times – will be shown later in summer, from August to September only, with James Blendick, William Hutt and Michelle Giroux. The family issues, loneliness of an individual inside the failed marriage, how long can this delicate balance last and to what end?

The Blonde, the Brunette and the Vengeful Redhead was a great success last season. If you have not seen it – try to do so this year. Finally there are two more innovative plays in Studio Theatre: The Odyssey based on ancient myths and fusing them with rich Caribbean traditions, Pentecost by David Edgar explores the eastern European values of religion, art and culture, mixed politics. Well, what else would be in Eastern Europe but politics, church and art?

The Stratford Festival Visitor’s Guide 2007 lists other events: the evening concerts, meetings with authors and actors, pre-theatre gatherings and tours, courses for theatre enthusiasts, and other local attractions, restaurants, B&Bs and shopping… something to look at in winter and plan for the summer.

Box office number is 1-800-567-1600 and web side

Shaw Festival 2007

The Shaw Festival is limited to 10 plays as previously planned: the Shaw’s collection features Saint Joan directed by Jackie Maxwell with Tara Roslyn in the title role, bringing the political and religious issues of France from 1431 to France in WWI. The second Shaw play is The Philanderer, a comedy exploring the issues of "an unwomanly woman" and what it means. Also in the Shaw repertoire is Hotel Peccadillo by Georges Feydeau, with its promise of wonderful comedy to be enjoyed along with some of Niagara Region wine.

Belonging to the same era is The Circle by Somerset Maugham, a comedy with some complexity and unexpected twists. The Cassilis Engagement, A Mother’s Comedy provides similar entertainment, with interesting sidekicks and great acting. This one is directed by Christopher Newton. A lunchtime production The Kiltaran Comedies is a combination of two short drama comedies perfect for a relaxed visit on a summer weekend. Mack and Mabel, with music and lyrics by Jerry Herman, is about the movies and a love story that is sure to please and amuse.

In a more serious genre: Summer and Smoke by Tennessee Williams presents delicate, refined and steamy like summer nights in Mississippi. I am not familiar with it, but Tennessee Williams is always good. Finally, A Month in the Country, written by Brian Friel and based on Turgeniev, is most likely very Russian, melancholic and full of summer madness.

Quite a lot to select from and a lot to look forward to. Niagara-on-the-Lake and the Wine Region is the place to go and spend some time, admire the vineyards, taste the wine, savour excellent cuisine and look at the moon. A variety of accommodation is available from modest B&Bs to sophisticated hotels and spas. And it is so close to American shopping, considering the value of the Canadian dollar.

And it’s an easy drive from Toronto, Hamilton or Kitchener-Waterloo area.

Shaw Festival 2006 Guide can be obtained by calling Shaw Festival Box Office at 1-800-511-SHAW or through the website In the past I have found the local Chamber of Commerce very helpful in recommending and assuring the reservations be it the Bed & Breakfast variety or the local hotels. The telephone number is 1-888-619-5981 or

I plan to attend and to write about the plays and will keep you informed about other interesting cultural events in K-W and beyond.

All the best in 2007!


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