We’d heard about this village often, since coming to Pittsburgh six years ago. It’s about a four hour drive away, depending on how long the border officials take to examine your passport. But a few weeks ago, we experienced for ourselves Niagara-On-The-Lake, and definitely agreed it is a great vacation getaway spot. Advertisements tout their history, natural wonders, (such as the falls which are a short drive from the village), and culture. The town sits on the shores of the Niagara River, filled with well-preserved historic buildings, charming shops, and bed and breakfast establishments, and their close proximity to scores of wineries. But the real stars of the setting are the plays.
2011 is the 50th anniversary of the Shaw Festival, a summer theater extravaganza. Eleven plays rotate throughout the six month season, My Fair Lady, based on Shaw’s Pigmalion, Heartbreak House, and many plays by other authors. We saw Drama at Inish – A comedy by Lennox Robinson, formerly the director of the Abbey in Dublin, and a new musical by two Canadians, Jay Turvey and Paul Sportelli, Maria Severa. And it was a special treat to see the lead address in the musical, play a slapstick Marilyn Monroe-type character at a lunch time show, The President, the following day.
With so much of our regular lives being spent surrounded by virtual technology; audio books, computers, smart phones, and television screens, this few days in a historic village seeing live theater performances, and holding face to face conversations with people who enjoy theater as much as we do, was invigorating and revitalizing. We’d go again, and next time, invite some friends along.