“Knock knock! Who’s there?”

8 Jul

Whether you’re a fan of Shakespeare or not, you’ve probably quoted him repeatedly without knowing it over the years. Take the title above, for example. It’s the platform upon which thousands of “knock-knock” jokes have been built.

Just a quick search before I began this column uncovered an astounding list of hundreds of phrases from his plays that have been woven into the English language: from “All that glitters is not gold” (The Merchant of Venice) and “Brave new world” (The Tempest) to Wild-goose chase (Romeo and Juliet) and “What’s done is done” (Macbeth).

If you’d like to experience the Bard’s work first-hand, tomorrow night, July 9th, is your chance. That’s when the Glengarry Pioneer Museum is hosting a return engagement of Ottawa’s renowned Company of Fools, one of Canada’s most innovative professional theatre companies.

Last summer, an appreciate audience of over 250 attended The Fools’ unique performance of As You Like It at the Museum. And this year, the troupe will be staging their version of A Comedy of Errors, a play that was their inaugural production 25 years ago.

In a nutshell, two sets of identical twins that were separated at birth are brought to the same town by circumstance. Mistaken identities abound!  Set against the verdant backdrop of the Museum’s grounds, this touring outdoor show will encourage the audience to partake in a Where’s Waldo-esque array of colour and hustle-bustle… challenging the notion of truly knowing one’s friend, spouse, neighbour and self.

This year’s production is directed by Catriona Leger. It stars (in egalitarian, alphabetical order): Warren Bain, AL Connors, Scott Florence, Gabrielle Lazarovitz, Geoff McBride and Katie Ryerson. The Fools summarize the production thusly: “full of slapstick, word play, romance and rhyme, this rollicking comical romp is one of Shakespeare’s most delightful works… fun for the whole family!”

The play runs from 7:00 PM to about 8:30. As for the price of admission, there’s no set amount. Instead, the actors will pass a hat after the performance. A donation of $15 is suggested. The event’s organizers are encouraging folks to show up early and bring a picnic supper. The Museum’s gates will be open at 5:30 PM so you can dine al fresco before the performance. By the way, this is a BYOS event: Bring Your Own Seating, be it a blanket, a lawn chair or even a chesterfield, if you’re so inclined.

Read the Fine Print

A number of people have asked if Kenny and Annette MacLeod are selling their sheep farm west of the Dunvegan crossroads. A small “For Sale” sign appeared on the power pole beside the entrance to their laneway a few weeks ago. And, at highway speeds, this interpretation is completely understandable.

However, it is incorrect. I spoke with Kenny on the weekend when he was down inspecting the hay he was extracting from our fields and he assured me that the rumour was without foundation.

As he explained, the sign actually reads “For Sale… fence posts and firewood.” But the description of what’s actually for sale is written at the bottom of the sign in smaller letters. It turns out that Kenny and his wife are clearing some of the bush on their farm and find themselves with a surplus of cedar posts and hardwood stove fuel. If you’re in need of either, now you know where to go.

A Really Close Call

Last week, on the eve of leaving on a vacation to Rhode Island with his wife Karen, Dunvegan resident Bob Linney was diagnosed as suffering from congenital heart failure. He had a late afternoon appointment with his doctor in St. Isidore, the day before the two set off to the land of the brave and the free. And it’s a good thing that he did. Dealing with cardiac issues down there would have been anything but “free.”

As a category, congenital heart disease includes abnormalities in cardiovascular structures that occur before birth. Congenital heart defects may produce symptoms at birth, during childhood, or (as in Bob’s case) not until adulthood. The most common congenital heart problems include heart valve defects, and defects in the walls between the atria and ventricles of the heart.

With Bob, the problem lies with one of his heart valves. It isn’t closing properly, thereby allowing blood to leak backwards. This led to severe shortness of breath and extreme fatigue. Which was the reason for his visit to the St. Isidore Medical Clinic.

Within minutes of meeting with his physician, he was ordered to report to the Monfort Hospital in Ottawa, where a bed awaited him. After a battery of tests this week, Bob will be transferred to the Heart Institute for open-heart surgery. Unfortunately, because of the posterior position of the faulty valve, the easier “nip & tuck” procedure is not an option. Nevertheless, the prognosis is very good. And Bob should be back in no time — steering the Municipal Recreation Committee to even greater glory.

Bob and Karen live in the log manse on the eastern edge of the hamlet. The Oxford Dictionary defines a manse as “a house provided for a minister of certain Christian Churches, especially the Scottish Presbyterian Church.” Dunvegan’s log manse was built in 1862 to serve the congregation’s original log church… and the stone church that replaced it on September 9th, 1880. The log manse, in turn, was superseded by the beautiful brick manse on the north side of the Church Hall, now the private home of Sandra MacPherson and James Prevost.

On behalf of all of Bob’s many friends and colleagues, I wish him a speedy and safe recovery.