Friday Two Cents: Vacationing In Ontario With George Part 2: The Stratford Festival



The next place I visited on my adventures with George around Ontario is a place I have frequented on numerous occasions in the past few years. I have been going to the Stratford Festival for many years now and every summer I try to take in at least one performance, yet I never took George. So I remedied that over site. Yet I do not only go for the performances but I usually pack a picnic lunch and enjoy the town and surrounding sites, this year with George.

The first place I visit is in a town called, of all things, Shakespeare. There I stop at a local shop that sells home-made pies. Now you might think what’s the big deal about pies but these pies are made by Mennonite women. You can see that they are hand making them and they taste delicious. They not only make a variety of fruit pies but meat pies as well. Suffocate to say I stopped and George and I got a few pies for dessert.

After a nice picnic lunch and walking around to see the sights, next the biggest things I enjoy are the plays. In the past I have seen adventure plays such as The Three Musketeers, musicals like Jesus Christ Superstar and Pirates of Penzance and of course a great many Shakespearian plays. But this year I saw something I have been long been waiting to see.

Oedipus Rex At the Stratford Festival

This year I was treated to an epic Greek tragedy for the ancient world. The story of how men who learn about their fate and then try to change it. I am talking about the tragedy of Oedipus, performed in the story Oedipus Rex.

I think many of us know or have heard about the Oedipus complex. It is the Freudian theory where there are complex emotions aroused in a young child, typically around the age of four, by an unconscious sexual desire for the parent of the opposite sex and a wish to exclude the parent of the same-sex. This was originally used to apply to young boys but a similar idea for young girls know as Electra complex. Freud used this story as the basis and of naming his theory.

I think from this theory you get a bit of the idea of the plot of the story. In the original story of Oedipus, he goes to the oracle at Delphi to learn about his fate and in doing so, he learns that he will kill his father and sleep with his mother. Horrified by this he runs away from his home because he wants to change his fate. But the Fates are playing a cruel trick on him.

On his travels at the crossroad to Thebes he encounters an older man on the road and the old man tries to run Oedipus off the road. In what can be called the first recorded incident of road rage, Oedipus kills the old man. Yet he does not realize that it is the king of Thebes, Laius.

He makes his way to Thebes, which is suffering from the terrible terror of the Sphinx. Oedipus defeats the riddle of the Sphinx and is made King but there are other troubles and in the end Oedipus vows to set everything straight. The people realize the King was murdered and the killer is in Thebes. Oedipus searches for the killer and in the process discover the king was the man he killed at the crossroads.   He is the killer but to add to the tale he also discovers that the man was his biological father, and the queen who he has married and had children with is his mother biological. WOW, you add a honey baked ham and you have yourself a Redneck Christmas.

These are the details of the story but the play is so well done and the director and actors have brought out the horror and tragedy of the tale. One actor of mention is Nigel Bennet, who plays the Teiresias the prophet in the play that knows the truth behind everything. Many who watch Murdock Mysteries would recognize him, as Chief Constable Giles. He was dressed like a cross dresser and walked very well in heals, but his performance as a blind prophet was not comical but inspiring. Spectacular and magnificent are the first words that come to mind. As well Gord Rand performance, as Oedipus was haunting and heart breaking. His final monologue was powerful and amazing to behold.

I for one loved every minute of it and as did George, but I think he liked the pies a bit more.


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