We hadn’t expected to get to the theater our first night in Ashland, but we made good time on the road, I got a nap, and so we went to Two Trains Running, by August Wilson.
The Shakespeare Theater Festival here has had a goodly number of Wilson plays over the years, and we always enjoy them. They are relatively low key– in this one, even though a couple of hand guns appeared on stage, not a shot was fired. (This almost certainly violates Tolstoy’s (??) theater premise — show the audience a gun and (the rule says) it must be used during the play). The absence of gun shots was endearing.
Ashland’s weather is also enchanting. The town sits in a bit of a valley, with wooded mountains to one side and large, rounded hills across the interstate on the other. The snow on Wednesday night, coming down in fat flakes as we left the theater, did not stick around in the valley. But just up the hills on both sides, it marked the somewhat dank winter scenes with white. Our motel sits up high enough that we could see the fog rising on both sides of us, with the sun moseying in and out of large puffy clouds.
After breakfast I headed off to Bloomsbury Books (which I have elsewhere mislabeled as Annie Blooms’ Books, which is another fine bookstore in the Portland area). I did not see the cat but I found a book I read in part in the NY Times (or was it the New Yorker?) some years ago: Moira Kalman’s And the Pursuit of Happiness. Kalman does drawings much like my friend Pat, a lovely combo of text and drawings. Kalman (and Pat) are cheerful and optimistic, with just enough of a wit to keep from being saccharine. This is a picture book, which means the old Kindle can’t handle the images, so I had an excuse to buy it while I could. (I would be bragging to say that I didn’t bring a single book on this trip with me; so yes, I’m bragging. But I also knew we were going to be in Ashland near Bloomsbury Books).
Kalman’s sketch of Ruth Bader Ginsberg, with a bit of her text.
It occurred to me as I sat making desultory notes in one of the well-worn Bloomsbury chairs that I wished I could capture, through sketches, what seems so easy to capture in handwriting. I did some sketching, but the results were nothing to bore my friends with.
We went to Amour (the movie) at the Main Street theater (the Varsity?) this afternoon; we’re scheduled for King Lear tonight. As Jer said, Lear will undoubtedly cheer us up after Amour. Amour is a fine movie but not exactly cheerful.
And we walked home at dusk in some kind of light precipitation, hard to classify — mist? gentle snow? rain? fog? Mostly a combo of all.
Amour, the flick this afternoon, and then King Lear this evening, through the misty, misty lights. We are certainly beginning our adventure well. –June