Tomorrow we leave on a long-planned trip to the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Ontario. I went there a few years back, right after I graduated from college at the sweet age of twelve, and I thought at the time, "I am coming back here someday. In fact, I am going to come back here as often as possible."
So now that I am a dewy young matron of....uhhhmmm...(give me a moment to do some quick arithmetic in my head)....thirty-four years old, I'm going to go, and here's the part that strikes me as being both very cool and very dangerous: I'm the tour group leader. We're seeing Hamlet and The Taming of the Shrew, both of which were last year's Shakespeare Workshop plays.
This is a cool thing because this is one of the supremely nerdy things I've always wanted to do: be a tour group leader. I know. Just hush, okay? It's my dream and it actually came true, so don't go and spoil it with your incredulous laughter. My only disappointment is that, since we're traveling to Canada in Virginia's van, I won't have a little jump seat up front where I can sit with a microphone and inform the travelers in a chatty voice that, if they look out the left side of the vehicle, they'll see Flint, Michigan and then later tell them that the sight we're seeing up ahead is a toll booth, so everybody pony up.
Leading a tour group is right up there with the other thing I really want to do, which is write a grant, and no, I'm not kidding about that. I'd really like to write a grant to do some Shakespeare theater with the homeschool group, but first I have to finish this trip to Stratford and make sure all my friends are still speaking to me.
The reason why this is very dangerous is that I am very good -- obsessive, some call it -- at tending to tiny details, like making sure everyone has a chocolate for his/her pillow tomorrow night and that we have fun games with prizes for the kids to play to while away the long hours of driving, but I'm also prone, as my husband will tell you, to doing things like all of a sudden start yelling that I can't find my passport and I think I left it at home and we have to turn around right now and then say, oh, never mind, I just remembered I stuck it in my bra for safekeeping.
In many respects, I am so excited about this trip, it is just like anticipating Christmas. I am so glad to be going with a gang of some of my favorite friends and their kids from the homeschool group, but on the other hand, I feel this enormous, pressing sense of responsibility to make sure everyone is comfortable and happy and having a good time. We're going to be gone for less than forty-eight hours, so there are undoubtedly going to be some tired people. And the plan for this trip was to keep it as inexpensive as possible, so there might be some dyspeptic people. But I hope that the plays themselves, plus my cheery ways and my little details will be enough to make everyone think that this was definitely worth the tiredness factor and that it will be considered money well spent.
I feel like the entire crew of the Love Boat rolled into one nervous person.
If this trip goes well, I already know some things I want to change for the next time -- and if this is a success, I hope to do this again in two years.
My long-range plan is that eventually, I'll do something along the lines of teaching Shakespeare classes (my emphasis is not only on the plays themselves, but also on the Catholicism of his works) to adults, and then my husband and I can take groups of adults to Stratford as well as the students.
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