Archives for category: Theatre

Prospects for selling my book at the Byward Market in Ottawa when I arrived at 10 a.m. Wednesday looked as dim as the thunderstorm forecast. Still, I bet myself I could sell enough copies (five) in the next six hours to buy tickets for a big treat. I defied the skies to clear in time for a picnic with our granddaughters and their parents before watching the preview performance of theater under the stars on the banks of the Rideau River that night. mmarket.jpgWork crews carrying partitions, shopkeepers rushing with arms full to set up for the day, twosomes and threesomes speaking languages other than English brushed past. Where were my buyers?

  • The atmosphere enlivened at lunch time, with music and dancing in the adjacent square attracting a noisy, lively crowd. A quarrel between someone not quite in his right senses and a big truck disrupted the self improvement, creative atmosphere I was trying to inject.
  • A dreary-eyed, homeless man with his bundles and bags slouched up against the bricks, heritage plaque and sesquicentennial posters on the market building facing me. Where were my readers?

It was discouraging and my devoted hubby of 61 years decided I was crazy and he might as well abandon ship and go home.  While he hesitated, I was ready with my elevator pitch to summarize my book in two sentences.

  • Anyone drawn to the table for a closer look at my framed newspaper article headlined “Call of Love in the Wilderness” got it. An old toothless man mesmerized by a 1904 picture of my mother as a child in a sailor outfit stayed because he wanted to hear her full story.
  • With a cheery “Hi Margaret!” up strode author Stevie Szabad, eager to buy two of my books and pick up advice from someone she perceived as having accomplished things she wanted to do. We plotted to sell together at the Galeries Aylmer Christmas market. 

Hubby stayed when I reminded him I was there to get my parents’ exemplary story out, not just sell the product. A take-out lunch of chicken sandwiches and smoothies fortified us both. 

  • Then a ray of sunshine, a tourist from Vancouver, suddenly appeared. He wanted to know more about why I called my book “A Book of Kells” and gave me advice on genealogy. He bought a signed copy as a gift and souvenir of Canada’s 150th.
  • A particularly friendly face came to the table confidently and I was able to engage her in conversation. For the next twenty minutes Tom and I found we had much to share with her and vice versa. Gale O’Brien is a lovely, avid reader who lives in Britannia by the Ottawa river. She now owns one copy of A Book of Kells and one of  Kathleen’s Cariole Ride which I hope she will enjoy reading.
  • When Kelly Buell turned up because she had been following me online, Tom was getting the car because it was 4 p.m., time for us to pack up. Kelly and I chatted and hope to help each other in future as writers so often do.

When I first met the organizer of the Byward marketing team and showed her my book, she told me she is a ‘Kell’ on her mother’s side. I was able to inform lovely, competent Megan Sartori that we are second cousins twice removed. 

By the way, the outdoor performance in Strathcona Park was superb. My granddaughters, aged 10 to 16 were absolutely thrilled with The Amorous Servant by Carl Goldoni staged by Odyssey theater. Grandpa and Grandma enjoyed its humor and sensible advice for all ages, too.

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Happy Reading & Writing from Cozy Book Basics until We Meet Again!

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tysen-poster-correct-logos-488x756Last Friday night Odyssey Theatre, Ottawa’s premier outdoor summer theater company, launched The Things We Do For Love, three Spanish one-act plays that celebrate the passion and pursuit of love. I found it marvelous and advise you to go if you can.With puppets and mask work, the classic tales from Spain’s Cervantes, García Lorca and Tirso came to life under the talents of director Laurie Steven and nine professional Canadian actors.

1. Saving Melisendra! is based on a chapter of Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote. Master Pedro’s chivalric puppet play takes a surprising turn when an unexpected
audience member arrives!

Due to the drabness of the costumes and muted quality of the flamenco music in the opening, the first play lacked spirit. However, the puppets were endearing and Karen Knox gave the best human horse performance I have ever seen and heard.

Karen Knox gives the best human horse imitation I have ever seen ... not to mention her outstanding star performance in Whether You Like It or Not

Karen Knox gives the best human horse imitation I have ever seen … not to mention her outstanding star performance in Whether You Like It or Not

2. The Things We Do for Love blends the traditional with the contemporary, infusing classic tales of chivalric love with longing, lust … and laughter!

I found this play a little dark, despite its hilarity. It is the most modern and brings to mind a terrorist mentality.

3. Whether You Like it Or Not, the main show, is a comedy in which the whimsical heroine concocts outrageous schemes to finally trap the man who has stolen her heart – whether he likes it or not!

imgresThis is what I came for (and there was more, with issues of gender identification, patriarchy and feminism): challenges, duels, chases, mistaken identities, evil lies, impersonations, hidings, mystery, intrigue, denial, insanity, yoga inserted incongruously, royalty, aristocracy, jealousy, rage, frustration, exasperation, accusation, condemnation and an out-of-control spiral of misunderstanding. If it hadn’t been for the irony of it all, the audience would not have been able to keep sitting until the whole deceit collapsed in a moment of truth and we were released. It all came with real birds tweeting in the background and stars up above. Best of all, we sat a few feet from the stage, in awe of the youthful beauty of the artists and their growing fame, not only in theater but also on television and film.

For 30 years, Odyssey Theatre’s Theatre under the Stars series has been performed annually in Ottawa’s Strathcona Park on the banks of the Rideau River five minutes from downtown. Residents and tourists love the unique entertainment experience.

Happy Reading and Theater-going from Cozybookbasics!

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