June 21 2020

Happy Fathers Day!

During our meeting on Thursday  Bruce Mclaren mentioned the upcoming SSO's 2020 Cows & Classics! to be live streamed on  Sunday, June 28th for a free livestream of SSO's
Dan Kane

Rotary, June 18, 2020

Welcome:    President Brent welcomed members to the Zoom meeting. 
Board Meeting:  Our President reported on several Board discussions: Adopt-a-Highway is on hold pending a review of the programme by The Ministry of Transportation; Dean Robinson is writing a history of the Rotary Dragon Boat and would like anyone with memories, stories or other information about the event over the past 25 years to contact him; the District Conference by Zoom was a smash success with over 300 participants from around the world; thanks were expressed to the departing members of the Board, Steve Lichti and Dan Scarborough, whose terms are ended.
Announcements:  Gerry Thuss announced that the Catch-the-Ace had a winner and Wendy Atkinson presented a cheque to the winner, Dennis.  Going forward Catch-the-Ace will be conducted online.  The Mask Committee reported that 1900 masks have been ordered, that 40 sewers are involved making them and that marketing continues apace.
Your humble scribe spoke with extraordinary eloquence about the need for more Scribes.
Housekeeping:   The Motions to approve the 2021 Budgets for Rotary Club of Stratford and the Rotary Club Foundation were made and all members will receive an email request to place their vote.  Members were asked to respond by Midnight on June 19.
Speaker:       Gil Garrett - the Artistic Director of the Blythe Festival, an actor, award-winning playwright and art administrator - spoke to us about the Arts in a time of pandemic.  He began by saying that this was a “strange moment” and that he and others in the Arts were struggling to find ways to talk with people, and how to move forward – indeed, by the end of April last, all performing arts stages in the world had gone dark, something that has never happened since theatre began thousands of years ago.
So how is this situation to be confronted and how do the performing Arts emerge from it, and deal with the inherent risks?  He illustrated his conundrum with the world’s first re-opening which was in Taiwan of Phantom of the Opera with lots of precautions and distancing but after 2 weeks of shows a member of the company got sick and everyone who had attended had to go into 2 weeks of isolation – numbering in the thousands.
Blythe, along with theatre companies across the Canada and the globe, are being forced to face the prospect that it may be years before a return to the practices of the past are possible again.  Mr. Garrett frankly said that there are no meaningful answers at this time only more and more questions which require serious consideration and new ways of conceiving performance.  He pointed out that it is not only safely providing for an audience but also issues relating to the health and PPE precautions necessary for technical crews and backstage, dressing rooms, set construction, make-up and costuming, and patron areas like lobbies.  How will playwrights develop their ideas into play scripts that are viable in such an environment?  How do theatres adapt to the “virtual” world, when “live” performances are so visceral and immediate an experience?
In the case of Blythe, who cannot afford (like almost all other theatre companies in Canada) to emulate the Stratford Festival in showing films of their productions, for reasons of copyright and money, it may be a return to the old practice, indeed medieval and Elizabethan of travelling “pageant carts” on which actors can perform outside in fields, parks and parking lots with minimal crew, set or front-of-house.  What is certain is that the conventional theatre that we all have grown up with, especially our beloved Festival Theater and the new Tom Patterson, will look radically different.  Mr. Garrett displayed a diagram of what the Blythe seating plan would look like when adhering strictly all physical distancing guidelines – a theatre of 400 reduced to 13 seats.  Quelle horreur!  Not only financially impossible but so dispiriting for the actors to be playing to 13 people.  The effect on a community is also distressing.  In the village of Blythe, as in Stratford, restaurants, B&B’s retail, summer employment for youth and local trades will be severely impacted.
But challenge is also opportunity, as Mr. Garrett made clear.  Blythe is examining its current mission and how it can achieve that in different ways; and in doing so involve everyone – actors, playwrights, artisans, patrons and sponsors – in a collaborative discussion.  He harked back to the American New Deal when the federal government hired hundreds of actors and theatre people to take travelling shows to communities and stage them wherever possible – often with little notice or idea of what was going to be performed.  Government has a role to play, but at this moment the Arts are not being given the thought and guidance planning needed, nor are they figuring in many of the phased re-opening proposals.  Will the Arts need to wait until there is an effective, readily available vaccine?
Mr. Garrett concluded by saying that Blythe continues to support playwrights and encourage and support new play development.  He spoke of the need for artists to address the overarching issue of habitat destruction and the alarming effect that has on the health of all species and the spawning of pandemics of the future.
When will we be able to attend a theatre and when we do, what will we see?  How long will this state of limbo last?  What will change for ever – for better and for worse?  No answers for now, but only a certainty (at least in the mind of this Rotarian) that theatre and storytelling as a shared experience will survive.
Care and Cheer:     President Brent reported that Bob Gulliford continues to be unwell and is awaiting admission to a hospice.
Birthdays             Rob Russell and Peter Roach
Anniversaries:  Michael Fox - 170 years
Your tired scribe,
Jul 09, 2020
The craft of Cinematography.
Jul 16, 2020
SSM changes in pandemic
Jul 23, 2020
Fireside Chat
Jul 30, 2020
Artist in pandemic
Aug 06, 2020
Stratford Sympony Orchestra in pandemic
Aug 13, 2020
COMMIT update.
Aug 20, 2020
Career in dancing ballet
Aug 27, 2020
Fireside chat
Sep 03, 2020
Club ownership
View entire list
Russell Hampton
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