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The Charity that Began at Home at Shaw

Okay, I will confess that my heart has a little bleeding going on right now. Just a bit, but enough. Last week I got a report from my publisher’s accountant that 361 books had been sold. 361 with almost no publicity – I was ecstatic! But the cheque accompanying the statement was preposterously small, so I wrote to ask what was going on.

She made a mistake. The number of books that have been sold is 36.

A little bleeding.

36 books sold with almost no publicity – how wonderful! I will be happy with this number. And hope we get to 361 before long.

To counter with joy, here’s what my daughter wrote on FB last week: “Happy birthday to the woman who taught me what it means to be one. I hope your day is as fabulous as you are! Don’t worry, I’m bringing the boy to you for cuddles asap. Beth Kaplan we love you the best!!!!! Xoxo.

It doesn’t get better than that.

I’m just back from a trip with Annie to the Shaw Festival at Niagara on the Lake. My student Tanya runs the costume department there and got us comps for 2 shows: The charity that began at home by St John Hankin, and Shaw’s The Philanderer.

Charity is a perfect production of a marvellous play – I could not recommend it more highly. The play is topical – about “do-gooders” and moral choices – and especially interesting for us since Annie works with the Jesuits trying to save the world and do good. Chris Newton’s direction is spot on, and the cast is sublime. But mostly, it’s a showcase for the hilarious Fiona Reid, who’s in her prime. No one plays well-meaning but stupid women like Fiona, and this one is the best. She is priceless. I do hope they take this show on the road – it deserves a wide audience. Don’t miss it.

Philanderer is an early Shaw and received rave reviews. The production again is spectacular, with incredible sets and costumes by Sue Lepage and a first rate cast – is there a better company anywhere than the one at Shaw? Impossible. But it’s not an easy play, wordy and abstruse as only Shaw can be. But surprisingly contemporary again, and many great lines.

Annie and I stayed at an airbnb house where the only room left had a king-sized bed for us to share. It was like being with a dear sister, the two of us sitting up in bed chatting and laughing, and this morning going down to a giant breakfast in the tranquillity of suburban NOTL. We bought peaches, tomatoes and corn on the way home. Great art in the country. And in a few weeks, I get to do it all over again at Stratford.

PS. In NOTL, between shows, we strolled down to Lake Ontario and saw a large crowd gathered on the shore, including a cameraman standing waist deep in the water. “They must be doing baptisms!” I said. But it turned out to be 14 year old Trinity Arsenault preparing to swim across the lake to Toronto – 52 km, twenty hours. We watched her set off, with her mother, who has also swum the lake, and other supporters in small boats around her – it was about 6.30 p.m. and she would swim all night. I just heard on CBC, at 5 p.m. today, that she’s about to arrive.

When  I was 14, as you know, I was loving the Beatles. She is swimming for nearly 24 hours. I am in awe.

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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