Romeo & Juliet & The HarlotSunday, September 17, 2006
Perhaps 9 is some sort of rite of passage as I shared one yesterday with Rebecca.
I took her to Jean Grand-Maitre's Romeo and Juliet ballet performed by the Alberta Ballet & The Banff Centre at the Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts. As I found myself explaining to Rebecca how Romeo had missed his cue about the fact that Juliet was not really dead and only seemed so, I remembered. I remember my mother taking me to see George Cukor's Romeo and Juliet with Leslie Howard (my mother's idol) and Norma Shearer when I was 9. She too had explained the intricacies of Shakespeare's plot.
Around 1994 I saw the perfect Romeo and Juliet, one day after a not so perfect one. I had gone to watch Evelyn Hart and her Royal Winnipeg Ballet at the Queen Elizabeth only to find out that since Evelyn Hart's partner was down with the flu she was not dancing either. I stormed out of the theatre and demanded my money back. My demand was rejected and when I was a couple of blocks away I remembered, "Alex, the music. It's live and it is Sergei Prokofiev." I returned to a thoroughly entertaining performance without Evelyn Hart. A publicist called me in the evening and offered me a ticket to next day's performance where she all but guaranteed that Hart would perform. And of course it was perfect.
I loved Jean Grand-Maitre's version of the classic. I loved all the magnificent sword fights and I specially liked Mercutio's taunting of Tybalt with a funny homosexual overtone. Juliet was no Evelyn Hart but she was very young, very blond, very beautiful and very believable as a young girl that Romeo would fall for. Her dancing was exquisite. When things got more complicated this Juliet, Leigh Allardyce, grew up convincingly. Jonathan Renna (who told us he had butterflies since it was his first Vancouver performance) was perfect for Romeo. Rebecca fell for him, so that was enough for me. And of course there was that live Prokofiev by the Vancouver Symphony.
We finished our day with a whipping cream and strawberries crepe at a Robson Street creperie with Sandrine Cassini (one of her multiple parts in the performance was that of a harlot and I had a bit of problem explaining that to Rebecca). With us were two other Alberta Ballet dancers. I enjoyed listening to Rebecca chat with Sandrine. Rebecca told her about her new jazz dance teacher, Ballet BC's Edmund Kilpatrick (seen here with Sandrine in her Carmen role).
But as we walked on Robson on our way home, the best was yet to come. "Papi," Rebecca said, "You were the only one at the table who wasn't a dancer."