Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Weekend Away

The weekend's wedding festivities were lovely, and the trip to Sudbury was exactly what I needed. In addition to getting to see my husband in his kilt (and with his new muttonchops), I got to have dinner with my in-laws, to share drinks with good friends, and to dance to some awesome music. (The DJ played the B52s' "Rock Lobster" without us requesting it. Awesome.)

I had managed to forget that the Sudbury International Film Festival (which goes by Cinefest and not by SIFF, which is probably good) was happening, despite the fact that I have friends on the festival circuit. Once Mat discovered that it was happening, we decided to take in a film the next day. The only one that really worked for our timeline was Billy Bishop Goes to War, a film version of the play, written by Eric Peterson and John Gray. Eric is probably most famous for his roll as Oscar Leroy on Corner Gas.

Billy Bishop Goes to War is one of the most performed plays in North America, but neither Mat nor I had seen it before. The film version is very interesting; it clearly emphasizes the staged-ness of its own performance (it's performed on a very small stage surrounded by a sea of empty seats) at the same time that it uses huge, sweeping shots to emphasized its filmed-ness. Both actors are incredible; Peterson plays 18 different characters, shifting from person to person with only the use of a hat or an accent.

The best part is that Peterson was actually at the screening to do a Q & A session afterwards. It was very interesting to hear him talk about his experiences with the play. He and Gray wrote Billy Bishop when they were in their early 30s; Peterson will turn 65 later this week. He played Bishop extensively in his 30s, revisited him in his 50s, and has now made this film in his 60s, when he is older than Billy Bishop lived to be. What an interesting and unusual experience for an actor to have. The film is profoundly affective and effective--well worth watching.

It was a lovely weekend away with my husband. It's so easy to fall into the same old traps here of always doing the same things, and it's sad to have to go away in order to spend that time with one another, free from the distractions of our lives.

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