What’s the good word?
I hope everyone is keeping warm as the brisk air has made its way through the city without a care in the world. It’s annoying, but it is Canada being Canada.
I’ve recently shared on Instagram that I would create a section here called Mommie & Z. My now 6-year-old son, Z, and I have been breaking out of our usual hang days to embark on new creative adventures, and it’s been a ball! Being surrounded by music, museums, books, dance, movies, plays, events—and everything else you can find under the arts umbrella—has been my life. My parents knew I was a creative from jump, and they nurtured my growth and curiosity in any way they could.
Now with a little one, I find myself in the same spot my parents stood in. Having access to the arts helps to shape and mold perspectives, discourse, and bonus points for enjoyment. Of course, the fact that I am in a perfect position to expose my youngin’ to the many facets of artistic expression is a significant plus, and I intend to do just that. It’s something I’m profoundly passionate about and take very seriously. I would be remiss to take it for granted. So this new section is kind of my curated arts section for parents and kiddos, if you will.
Welcome to the Mommie & Z corner!
Let’s jump in with one of our most recent stops in October at the Stratford Festival! If you’ve been following me, you already know that I have cultivated a wonderful relationship with them. I first visited Stratford last year to report on their presentation of Death and the King’s Horseman, and this year, I hosted and curated a Black Women In Media event between Black journalists and Black women actors on the opening night of Wedding Band. What a time! So, when I saw A Wrinkle In Time playing, I immediately wanted to take Z for him to experience his first play. Now, even though the play is finished for the 2023 season, I still want to share the experience so you can decide if you would like to follow suit with your little ones for their recently announced 2024 season (*cough* you really should!).
Stratford, here we come!
Z and I packed up our tote with tablets and snacks and headed to catch the Stratford Festival bus early in the morning. The ride was smooth, and our driver was phenomenal. We arrived early and popped in to enjoy a tasty meal at Pazzo Pizzaria. It’s right downstairs under one of my favourites, Café Bouffon. The decor is comfort-chic with candles, mirrors and dim lighting for ambiance. Very cozy.
I had a Caesar salad that was crunchy with just the right amount of Pazzo salad dressing (Z powered through a plate but went in on the cured bacon pieces), and I had a fresh in-house spaghetti pasta plate that doesn’t seem to be on the menu anymore! Perhaps it was seasonal. Still, it was a seafood medley of shrimp and muscles in a rich butter sauce. Z opted for his favourite—a cheese and pepperoni pizza made just for him from the ‘build your own pizza’ menu! The service was fantastic, we both enjoyed our dishes, and we will certainly be back.
Now keep in mind that all of my previous trips to Stratford were centred around the Tom Patterson Theatre. A Wrinkle In Time was playing at Avon Theatre, which is closer to the town’s main strip. So it was my first foray into the town centre where all of the shops are lined up with sprinkles of restaurants, cafés etc. everywhere. It’s so quaint! Imagine my surprise when I realized just how close it was in walking distance to what I was accustomed to.
Now you know kids do not (emphasis on not) like to walk too much unless it involves play. But I’ve been blessed with an adventurer. As long as he’s engaged and there’s something worth waiting for at the end of the excursion, he’s all for it.
The play, playing around and homeward bound
A Wrinkle In Time is a sci-fi novel written by Madeleine L’Engle. It’s been brought to life via film and a television show. However, this is the first time I’ve seen it in any form. I never read the book, but I do remember how popular it was, and of course, we all know the 2018 iteration presented by Disney, directed by Ava Duvernay. So, needless to say, I was curious to see how it would parlay on stage. I also knew with all the imaginative themes and storyline, Z would have a time.
I tried to get his review in via video, but he couldn’t stay still long enough for me to get it. Nonetheless, he was absolutely entranced and captivated by the production. When he heard the word tesseract (Marvel, anyone? IYKYK), he nearly lost his mind. The grin on his face put everyone on full notice. It couldn’t be denied. He ended up sharing his reviews with all the elderly women who were enamoured by him and stopped to ask his viewpoints about the show. In his words, “It was so much fun! I liked the costumes, Mommie. They were amazing. I can’t believe it!” His reaction was a resounding and positive yes to everything.
After, we took the rest of the time to walk around town before we jumped back on the bus to head home. The steps on City Hall are picturesque and perfect for great shots (Z took my pic on the stairs!), the colourful small store door in the middle of the square caught Z’s attention, and I found Rheo Thompson Candies! If you’ve ever had one of their mint chocolate smoothies, you will become a fiend for the rest of their chocolatey, mouthwatering delights. I’m now addicted to their pecan bites. This may become an ongoing problem. Sounds like a conundrum of sorts. Oh well!
A Wrinkle In Time did exactly what I thought it would for Z—it opened up his mind to a whole other world. It’s one where imagination meets design, performance and focus. I’m excited that he has asked to see more plays. This was the start of a beautiful journey. We already have plans to return for the 2024 season, and Z is ecstatic! We’ll have more to share from Stratford then.
For now, you’re still able to catch two shows from this season that have been extended due to popular demand. At the time this post went live, Rent—which I saw for the first time during the summer and was a must-see—was on until Sunday, November 5th, and Monty Python’s Spamalot is still on until November 18th. Act fast because, by the time you blink, we’ll be signing “Jingle Bells.”
**Would you like to invite us to a play/event/museum/book reading/musical/concert? Reach out—we would love to hear from you!
Until next time…