One of the things I didn’t anticipate was my friends feeling worried about what I might write about them on my blog. It became the joke with Iam after a particularly ridiculous event…“Oh no, I suppose you’ll put that in the blog!” Or a particularly bad picture was met with a groan, “Don’t put that on your blog.” I could also use it as a threat…”Careful or I’ll put that in my blog.” Blackmail…gotta love it! Nathan, the friend I was driving to Rosebud to see, was concerned about the same thing. No one wants to be misconstrued and I hated to think they were feeling vulnerable. But since we all had met in the Shakespeare Intensive we were loath to hide from each other. Authenticity is definitely the way to live and I was grateful that they trusted me not to misrepresent them.
Rosebud, Alberta is a tiny, faith-based town, and I mean TINY. The phrase “one horse town” comes to mind. There is a theater school, Rosebud School of the Arts, where Nathan works, also Rosebud Centre of the Arts, with shows that run from March-December. There is a restaurant, cafe, a few shops, a church, an art gallery and 100 permanent residents. It is a quaint village in the middle of nowhere with people who are friendly, principled, not yet cynical, and very warm.
In addition to teaching, acting and heading up the acting program, Nathan runs a B&B and I got to luxuriate in the upper flat of his home for the night. So wonderful! I arrived with a smile from such a beautiful drive into this little town bordered with green pastures, a river, old barns and theaters. Nathan hopped in my car and gave me a tour of the area.
We drove to the next town, Drumheller about 30 minutes away, saw the world’s largest dinosaur, (yep that’s me on his left toe!), had a Vietnamese lunch, saw the hoo-doo rock formations and coulee landscapes.
We stopped into the large outdoor venue where a passion play is performed every year. It was grand to tour around, catch up and really get to know more about the guy that has found such an interesting home in this remote community. He is sweet, kind, funny, forthright, dependable, wise, and excellent at what he does with teaching and acting.
We had to get back for his show that evening, him to act and me to attend. I was skeptical, wondering what kind of theater I was going to find out here so far from “culture” but it was fabulous! The acting was superb, the design beautiful and creative, simple and pure. Oh, the show was My Name is Asher Lev, adapted from a book by one of my favorite directors, Aaron Posner. It is so awesome to see what can be created with dreams and desires. And I got to play with a pair of darling dogs outside at intermission, what could be better!?
That evening we watched the most amazing lightning storm I have EVER seen. The horizon was awash in a dark cloud bank that lit up every few minutes like there was a huge flash camera snapping its photo, and in the middle was a very brightly defined crooked line of light. It’s hard to describe but I had never experienced anything like it and Nathan took credit as something he planned to enhance my visit to Rosebud.
But my visit needed no enhancing. I met wonderful people, that welcomed me into their circle and we gazed at stars sitting and talking into the dark night listening to crickets and grasshoppers. I love theater people and really most of the town is involved in the school and theater so it is like meeting family everywhere you go.
The next morning I happened to be in the right place at the right time as they were hosting a birthday breakfast at Nathan’s house. Fresh peaches were grilled, crepes being made, sausage and bacon sizzling and I got to meet even more darling people.
I made Nathan play his violin and I was dumbfounded with his ability. Such a humble guy, you would never know that he was really, REALLY good. I made another poor soul reluctantly get up and dance a jig with me while Nathan played. And in the midst of all this twirling and hopping I landed wrong on my ankle and twisted it, hearing an unfortunate crunch. Ugh….I immediately had to sit down and ice it. I hurt like heck, but I was still so happy inside to be there sharing this beautiful morning with kindred souls.
My foot was rapidly swelling and turning black and blue. But I hobbled over and got to see Anne of Green Gables the musical that afternoon. It was again a surprising delight, bringing me to tears at times. I saw raw vulnerability and singing that was telling a story as well as sounding beautiful.
So really even with the ankle trauma I had a wonderful time and feel close to this little town that opened their arms to me. They have a great thing going and I was delighted to be included for a day. Busloads of patrons come here to experience live theatre, how great is that?
(TO BE CONTINUED…YET AGAIN!)