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      GRIEVING FOR STRATFORD; CELEBRATING CATS AND LIFE by Thomas Putnam

      blog109281772jWhile I write this I should by rights be on the bus heading for Stratford, Ontario. I grieve because I love this annual trek to a lovely town and a powerful professional theatre company (which has had to close for the whole year.) I really miss getting up early, riding the Benedict bus, watching the beautiful scenery all the way up (even when it's raining it's cool), eating at good restaurants, being with some interesting people, and experiencing some really great theatre. Theatre that I have no hand in; theatre I can sit back and soak up and revel in. God, I'm missing the trip this year.

      I am so grateful to Larry Biddison for organizing this trip since forever. It's a lot of organizing: figuring out the best date with the best choice of plays, reserving the hotel, getting word out to lots of people and making sure all of us have passports, organizing room arrangements. It's a lot, and Larry has been doing it so well for years, and I don't have to plan or organize or be responsible for a thing. It's a true enriching and empowering vacation for me. And, have I mentioned that I'm really missing it this weekend. THANK YOU, LARRY!

      Thankfully, some of the edge is taken off my grief with the opening of STRAY CATS tonight, which has been a different kind of rehearsal journey since it's a series of monologues and everyone worked on their own. Also, the pieces are all connected by Dave Driskell's incredible improv-ing sax playing. Each time we rehearse it's a bit different and fresh and alive. We couldn't have done this show without Dave. I don't see how any theatre group can perform it if they don't have Dave. (And working with Ryan and Rob is always an experience.)

      Another edge-taker-off-er is looking forward to auditions for IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE==the radio version. The show simply is like comfort food—it's not going to be a heavy duty rehearsal schedule (since no one has to memorize anything) and the story is endearing, and...well...it offers some hope.

      I grieve for missing Stratford; I smile at CATS (get your tickets, please) and A WONDERFUL LIFE (audition, please.)

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