A Vancouver summer is not complete without a rendezvous with William Shakespeare in a tent overlooking English Bay.
Each year Bard on the Beach, a professional Shakespeare Festival in Vancouver, produces up to four different Shakespeare plays, which are presented in tents against a backdrop of mountains, sea and sky in Vanier Park on the waterfront. And each year the Swartzberg girls try to make it to one of the shows.
This year we opted to see The Taming of the Shrew on the main stage, but first we decided to make an evening of it and went out for dinner in Vancouver.
By recommendation we went to Fat Dragon Bar-B-Q, which serves southern barbeque inspired food mixed with Asian flavours.
|Dodgy looking street.|
While I claim Vancouver as my home when I’m beyond the borders of British Columbia, I’m actually from Coquitlam, which is why I didn’t blink an eye when I looked up the restaurant and saw that it was on Powell Street in the Strathcona neighbourhood.
When we pulled up in front of the restaurant we were all a bit taken aback. The neighbourhood seemed quite dodgy with gated old storefronts, rundown apartment buildings and scruffy people smoking from chairs on the sidewalk. Others pushed shopping carts loaded with pop cans and beer bottles.
We were meeting Robin for dinner and had arrived a bit early so we hesitantly decided to go for a walk around the block. We found a park dotted with homeless people napping on blankets, though there were some children and families playing at the playground. We also saw a fascinating example of “green graffiti” where people grow flowers, herbs and vegetables from a flowerbed on the wall.
At the appointed time we went into the restaurant, fully expecting it to be a dingy little place matching the neighbourhood in which it was located. Instead we found a lovely clean space with brick walls, lit by lanterns and candles. It was a bit disorienting actually coming in from the street, but what a pleasant surprise! And the food was just as nice. We had little steamed buns stuffed with beef/squash/squid, chicken lemongrass soup, lamb ribs, sweet and sour ribs, smoked pig’s snout fried rice, and a delicious mango rice pudding.
|Inside the restaurant.|
With full tummies we continued on to our evening of Shakespeare and enjoyed an energetic performance of The Taming of the Shrew. This production set the play in the Empire period with costumes of the same historical period and a set inspired by a pastoral landscape. However, the peace of the landscape was juxtaposed with the war of words and wits we saw played out between Kate (the shrew) and Petruchio (the man who volunteered to marry her and tame her for the sake of her dowry).
It doesn’t need to be uncomfortable though. In my opinion, through their exaggerated relationship, we learn about compromise. Petruchio uses his outrageous tactics to show Kate that it is better to play with him than against him and in the end they are partners and she seems happy. Also, though Petruchio’s initial motive was money, it appears that he sees the potential in her that no other man saw and falls in love with her.
You probably didn’t come looking for a literary/theatrical analysis, but there you have it. Today’s “Journey with Jade” took you into the world of Will Shakespeare.
On a somewhat related note, I have decided that Baptista’s strategy to marry off his eldest daughter is a good one. My younger siblings will not be allowed to get married until I do (except for Kent who cheated and got married while I was a missionary.)