47 Glencairn Ave.
Toronto 12, Ont.
July 1, 1954
We got back from Stratford yesterday. The Clarkes (Bill and Irene) tooks us as guests.
We saw Measure for Measure Monday evening and The Taming of the Shrew Tuesday. Most people were agreed that the performances were not up to last year's standard. James Mason as Angelo was a bit disappointing as the audience couldn't hear him when he turned to one side to speak to the actress. He seemed rather distressed by his part and Mavor Moore who acted as the counsellor to Angelo, told me that Mason wasn't up to scratch.
I notice also by this morning's paper that Brooks Atkinson criticized Tyrone Guthrie for making The Taming of the Shrew too much of a burlesque. For instance, one of the actors jumped into the melée with a Shell Flytox as a weapon. Imagine spraying the Chancellor with Flytox. There were many other farcical features. Bob Christie came in as the pedant with an umbrella, stood on the edge of the parapet brandishing it and dancing while the audience felt sure he would fall down the fifteen feet. Indeed, he nearly did so but managed to sit down on the edge to save himself. Then Bob, nose now a fiery red all right, but why eight inches long.
Measure for Measure was better as the Duke and Pompey (the clown) did their parts well. Still people remarked that Mason, however good he might be on film, was no substitute for Guiness of last year. Moreover, the tent was not filled, there being at least 100 seats not taken up.
After the final performance we went to the reception given by Tom Patterson, the originator of the Festival idea. That lasted two hours, and we got back to the Hotel by 2 o'clock. A bit exhausting taking it all in all.
Today is Dominion Day, a general holiday, and we are staying home, listening to Churchill's speech at Ottawa and other speeches on the national event. Churchill naturally was cheered to the echo everywhere he was seen or heard. His humour sent audiences into stitches. Knowing his liking for cigars (10 long ones a day) the audience responded with a gale of laughter when he remarked that he and Ike came together to smoke out their differences. It was delightful.
Last night the (R.O.) Dalys took us out to York Downs for dinner. You have heard of the place no doubt. They picked up Judge Barlow and his wife. We sat under the trees till 10 following a lavish dinner. I had my usual steak and your mother her usual salad (awful diet I says). She may write you tomorrow and give you the calorie constituents.
With much love
speech at Ottawa