Through my eyes

living my life without regrets

Monday, January 13, 2020

Winter 2019 - Piaf and Dietrich

Piaf and Dietrich
Original Posters of Piaf and Dietrich

Did you know that Edith Piaf and Marlene Dietrich were bosom buddies? They might even have been lovers?  Well the play we saw yesterday was an eye opener. It sure was not a play for prudes. 
Those two really cared for each other. Marlene with her glamorous personality was such a contrast to small, always dressed in black, Edith. How could that be? Dietrich was the ‘femme fatal’ and Piaf the ‘addict’ throughout the show, but their relationship was very deep. Both needed each other, it seemed.
Dietrich Bio

The theater is a great venue to show how a small, chancy meeting can turn into a lifelong relationship. They met when Piaf had a hissy fit after a performance and Dietrich gave her a handkerchief to dab her eyes. They introduced themselves and started a lifelong friendship that lasted even through the many ups and downs of their lives. 

I have attached pictures to show some of each woman’s history, as it was written in the program.

You can see both women had a full life. The women were total opposites but both were fully absorbed in their artistic lifestyles. Dietrich with the German nickname Blaue Engel (Blue Angel from her German movie), and the Parisian ‘Moineau’ (Sparrow) were worlds apart yet cared a lot for each other and were true friends. 

Piaf Bio
Naturally their songs were center stage at this performance and I must be showing my age, but I knew them well. Dietrich sang some in English but I noticed the translations were not as good as the originals in German. I noted that especially with the song “ Ich bin von Kopf bis Fuss auf Liebe Eingestellt (Falling In Love Again from the 1930 German Movie “Der Blaue Engel’). The English translation did not do it for me. 

Marlene, to me, was always a guy who was born in woman’s body.

Edith however was emotional to the extreme. She was extreme also in her chosen lifestyle. Drugs and alcohol controlled her at the end yet… those emotions were what made her performances so outstanding.

I loved her songs much more than Marlene’s especially the song at the end: Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien (No, I Don’t Regret Anything)

It was a powerful performance, an outstanding show, showing us that behind the glamour and the destitute are just humans; people with their ups and downs, with their pain, their joy, and their lives just like ours. 

And how do they handle their misfortunes in life?   Well, that is shown, too. Age, illness, addiction, loss and other sufferings were part of the performance. 

Actress Who Played Dietrich
Actress Who Played Piaf
Those women were so different from each other, yet so just like you and me, too.

You can read more of the details in the photos attached.  It was a very insightful performance.

Inside the CAA Theatre

Piaf Poster

Songs Sung

Dietrich Posters

Monday, January 06, 2020

Holiday Blog 2019

Holiday Blog 2019
Poster For the Original Performance

It seems we do something around Xmas each year when we are in Toronto.

This time we booked a play named ‘Holiday Inn’. It’s the original from which the 1942 movie with Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire was adapted. I am sure you all know the movie White Christmas.

The play was a stunning performance. Nothing was held back, the lighting, costumes and performers were outstanding. While the stage set was simple; it was colorful and had the needed effects. 
Leaving the House

But before we saw this play we had to drive to the theater. It was performed in Niagara-on-the-Lake, a fancy, even romantic small town in Canada. This town is about 1.5 hours away from Toronto and as you can see in the pictures, the weather was bad.
Our Street

Canadians are used to driving in snow, but our drive was bad. Stop-and-go on the highway, visibility almost zero sometimes, it was not such a nice drive to get to Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Part of our trip took us through Canadian Wine Country. The vineyards were at rest and a bit snow covered. Starlings were hiding among the plantings trying to get out of the wind.
Starlings Seeking Shelter in the Vineyards

The land looked forlorn, looked asleep.  Every town we went through had Christmas decorations displayed. Some of the houses looked very festive and ready for the Holidays.  

Our play was at 7 PM at night and we had plenty of time to scout out the exact location of the Shaw Festival Theater. Carol and I thought it a good idea to give it a dry run. Explore exactly where we had to be at night so we didn’t have to search for it in the dark. 
Festival Theatre in Niagara-on-the-Lake

We also thought it prudent to not drive home after the performance, since it would be driving in the freezing night, through country where snow plows don’t always clear the country roads immediately.

So I booked a room near Niagara-on-the-Lake in the town of Niagara Falls. Now almost everybody knows about Niagara Falls, world famous for the amount of water that drains out of Lake Erie and flows through a gorge into Lake Ontario. 
Prince of Wales Hotel in Niagara-on-the-Lake

The drive between the 2 towns was about 30 minutes and it was a nice drive. We drove along the Niagara Escarpment on the Canadian Side, along the Queen’s Parade and the Niagara Parkway and it is a pretty drive. The houses along this section are high end, fancy and were lit by extraordinary light shows. 
Brock's Monument (You Can Climb It Inside)

We passed the monument put up in honor of General Brock who died near here during the American Attack in the war of 1812.

The town of Niagara Falls is on the Canadian side of this famous landmark the Niagara Falls.  
Niagara Falls (City) Viewed With My Back to the Falls

Beautiful Lights Everywhere

It’s a pretty town, too, but a bit commercial. To attract a world-wide clientele, the Canadians built fancy hotels, Casino’s and grand eateries. Hands down, the Canadian side is much better than the American side. In the winter however, the crowds are fewer. Still, the town of Niagara Falls decorates most trees within the town with lights. The whole atmosphere is delightfully frilly and everything is geared towards Christmas. 

Falls View Casino

Wow! $132
Even the Casino, a 24-hour venue, has special deals. Our hotel gave us $25 dollars to play the machines in the Casino, which was connected by a walkway to our  hotel.
Light Displays

 Naturally, Carol had to go and try her luck. And lucky she was…We walked out of the Casino after winning $132 dollars. That paid for the room!

Over 50 Trees Wrapped With Lights in Dufferin Islands Park
Wildlife Displays

A Few of the Trees Wrapped in Lights
Royal Canadian Mounted Police

Niagara Falls at Night

We used Niagara Falls only as a spot to sleep. Yes, we drove past some amazing light shows in the park by the Falls, we tried to get a good look at the Canadian and American Falls with their colored lights but it was a bit difficult since everything was very icy and slippery from the frozen mist near the falls. 
Top = Easter Parade; Bottom = Valentine's Day

So we did the best we could… we just spent time in the car, driving around. 

Top = Let's Start the New Year Right; Bottom = Heat Wave

The play “Holiday Inn” was a success. I liked the performance. The actors did their utmost, the dancing routines were marvelous. Fred Astaire would have been jealous. The music was from a live orchestra and the songs… well, everybody knows them.   

 ‘Dreaming of a White Christmas’ was appropriate for this time of year. 

Irving Berlin wrote songs for Easter, Valentine’s Day, 4th of July, etc.  All the holiday songs were included in the play.
This play “Holiday Inn” is a multifaceted affair. While the music and lyrics were written by Irving Berlin, the story was based on the book by Greenberg and Hodge. Many people were part of the performance we watched. 

Costume Sketches
Not just the actors but the arrangements for the choreography, for the vocals, for the scenery, for the orchestration, etc. were all very well done. 

The theater was sold out. 

We planned well, had our dinner (delicious Thai food) before the show and enjoyed ourselves for a night out.

Let’s see what next year will bring us.

This was our Christmas performance for 2019, a good choice.