April 2009

On Mother's Day two years ago, my daughter and I shared something special; the privilege of hearing twenty brave and talented actors share with us the facts of their mothers' lives -  My Mother's Story: A Mother's Perspective . Together we laughed, we cried, and we thought of my mother, Amanda's grandmother, and the part she played in our lives. As we drove home we discussed the empowering effect that relating the arcs of their mothers' lives seemed to have on these women, and that we both felt enriched by the experience of seeing this work.

Vancouver, BC:  I came to see Age of Arousal with no preconceived notions other than that it was about feminism, relationships and set in Victorian times. Oh, and that it was the partner play in the Arts  Club Classics in Context series with The Constant Wife, which was one of my favorite plays of this season. I left the theatre feeling somewhat overwhelmed by the richness of  themes and the complexity of the interwoven stories of the six characters.  In line with my firm resolution always to  jot down, or rather input, my impressions  immediately on returning home from the theatre, I dutifully sat down before my keyboard (not a Remington! ) and gazed blankly at the screen,  my thoughts jumbled and knotted like the sheets in my  dryer.  How does one summarize the story of this intricate ensemble work?  I decided to go to sleep and hope that my subconscious would come up with some penetrating insights.

Here is my more-or-less recipe for my chock-full-o-health bran muffins. The more-or-less refers partly to the golden raisins and dried apricots which I add in different quantities depending on my mood or what I happen to have in my pantry. It also refers to the fact that I tend to experiment with ingredients, oven temperatures and cooking times - so this is the formula I am using currently (no pun intended!).

I was meditating about the link between eating and emotional state when the early morning view from my office window derailed my profoundly philosophical and serious approach to this topic by elevating my mood to a state where I could no longer sit typing about angst and sorrows. 

In the past I have enjoyed several great dinners at Lumiere and also enjoyed eating at the bistro a couple of times. However that was ages ago before the new incarrnation as db Bistro Moderne. So even before setting foot in the Bistro my mouth was watering in anticipation of an excellent meal.  Billing itself as a blend of " traditional French cuisine, New York Haute Cuisine and the bright flavours of the Pacific North West"  - the place has a lot to live up to.  The remodelled space is much larger and lighter than before.

Vancouver, BC: It is 1990 and Jon (Brandyn Eddy) is a promising young composer living in Manhattan. Jon is about to turn thirty and he is agonizing about his career in music and theatre, and fretting that  he is over the hill. This premise for the show would ordinarily be a trifle irritating to me. I left 30 behind some years ago (alright, many years ago) yet I still feel that I am on the way up  to the summit of a career hill.  Albeit a different hill from the one I was climbing at 30. No existential angst is allowed in my mind. To safeguard  myself  against the upcoming angst, I booked for dinner at DB Bistro Moderne on Broadway: Our Broadway of course!

Vancouver, BC:  When I first started writing for Immediatetheatre.com. more than three years ago - yes, time does fly when you're having fun ! - one of the first plays I reviewed was the Ruby Slippers production of  The Leisure Society  by Francois Archambault. At the time I commented that I could listen to the timbre of Colleen Wheeler's voice for ages. And fortunately I still can, because in her role of France, the "bad" daughter of solid, conventionable couple, Robert (Kevin McNulty) and Raymonde (Patti Allan) her powerful presence dominates this play, Life Savers.

Food for the mind and food for the tummy - what more satisfying blend could there be than cooking and the arts? Think leisurely dinner before seeing a play or an opera, and anticipating the visual and auditory feast that is coming up on stage. Or think post-show coffee and dessert as you dissect the performance you have just seen.

For many years, through undergraduate and post-graduate medical training, the most important thing that got me through endless late nights of study was having copious cups of coffee near to hand. I believe the human race essentially is divided into two groups, those who can drink a cup of coffee at dinner and fall asleep with no difficulty, and those who cut off their caffeine intake at noon if they want to sleep that night. I belong to the latter group.