Hamlet by Cole’s Notes

2 Aug

Truth be told, I’m not a huge fan of Shakespeare. That said, I thoroughly enjoyed last Thursday’s Company of Fools production of Hamlet at the Glengarry Pioneer Museum. No doubt purists consider the Fools’ approach to the Bard’s plays a sort of theatrical “Cole’s Notes.” However, it works. There were young children at last week’s performance that sat enthralled for the entire 90 minutes.

As the play unfolded, I was struck once again by how many of our common English phrases owe their genesis to Shakespeare’s quill: “Neither a borrower nor a lender be”… “This above all: to thine own self be true”… “Brevity is the soul of wit”… “An old man is twice a child”… and, of course, the opening line from Prince Hamlet’s speech in Act III, Scene 1: “To be, or not to be: that is the question.” One of the highlights of the evening was the so-called Gravedigger Scene where actor Jacqui Du Toit gave an inspired performance that provided both comedic relief and pointed commentary.

No doubt the committee that organized this event was thrilled with the public’s response. In a quick post-event email, curator Jennifer Black said that a member of the Company’s crew: “…did a fairly thorough count with a clicker after everyone was seated. She recorded 173.” Jennifer also reported that the sale of baked goods donated by the community and croissant sandwich combos brought in $340.

While $340 is nothing to sneeze at, as Jennifer pointed out, it was too bad that this was the only revenue the museum received from the impressive turnout. One might think the Company of Fools would share a small slice of what they raised passing the hat, but they didn’t.

Love classical music?

Concert tickets may be a thing of the past for the Glengarry Pioneer Museum’s popular Classical Music Under the Stars event. Instead of charging admission to the recital coming up on Thursday, August 10th at 7:30 pm, the Dunvegan museum will rely on your generosity and simply “pass the hat” after the performance. The suggested donation is $20 per person.

For this year’s concert, the museum has engaged NU TRIO, a string ensemble from Montreal. It will be their second visit to Dunvegan. NU TRIO performed here in 2017, and was very warmly received. The repertoire for their outdoor classical music recital will include works by Schubert, Beethoven, Haydn, Dohnányl and Mozart.

The event will be held rain or shine. In the case of bad weather, the concert will move under the cover of the Williams Pavilion. However, the museum is really hoping it can be held outdoors beneath the moon and stars. Don’t forget to bring a lawn chair or a blanket, and a jacket or sweater in case the evening is chilly. You can even come early, bring a picnic supper and dine al fresco before the concert.

Last year’s concert goers appreciated the opportunity to sample the handcrafted, estate grown offerings from Stonehouse Vineyard in Lochiel. So, Glengarry’s very own winery is also returning to the Music Under the Stars event. Both individual wine tastings and full bottles will be available for purchase from the Stonehouse Vineyard tent.

For all, there is a season

The window to Dunvegan’s past closed a few more inches this past weekend. A ‘for sale’ sign went up at the split-level house east of Dunvegan that René Trottier and his late wife Sherrill built in 1973. While we’re ‘from away’, this house still has many fond memories for me. When Terry and I first moved here, we tapped toes there at impromptu kitchen ceilidhs; our kids learned to swim in their pool (the Trottier’s were part of the DRA’s backyard Red Cross swimming program); and I took notes in their kitchen as Sherrill talked of growing up in her parent’s general store in Dunvegan.

Intellectually, I understand that the time has come for René to move on. Old age isn’t for the faint hearted, and like so many of us, he needs more support. Nevertheless he is a fine neighbour and friend and I hate to see him go.

Tartan Kirkin’ returns

It’s been so long since I heard from Rev. Jim Ferrier, interim moderator of Kenyon Presbyterian in Dunvegan (and its sister church, St. Columba, in Kirk Hill) I thought I’d been ghosted. So I was pleased to no end when I saw a message from him in my email box. Turns out that things have been a wee bit uneventful in the religion biz lately. However, Rev. Jim wanted to alert members of Kenyon Church that for the next two Sundays — that’s August 6th and 13th — worship services in Dunvegan will be cancelled and the congregation will take to the road.

On Sunday, August 6th, after a long Covid hiatus, St. Columba in Kirk Hill is reinstating its traditional post-Highland Games “Kirkin’ O’ the Tartan” service. And the Dunvegan congregation is invited to join their sister congregation in Kirk Hill for its return. The Kirkin’ service will take place at 2:00, with Mr. David MacDonald as the guest speaker. Then, for the following Sunday, it’s hoped that Dunvegan members will, once again, join with St. Columba… this time for their annual Memorial Sunday service to be held at 11:00 am.