Last week I had the pleasure of having the lovely Adrianna Prosser visit from Toronto. I first met Adri a year and a half ago when I was in Toronto. One night my host had to work, so I tweeted that I was looking for a show to see and people to hang out with and Adri replied that she was going to a show and I was welcome to join. Well that show was so awful that we walked out at intermission, but we bonded over how bad it was at a Starbucks and have been friends ever since. So when she got a couple of auditions in town, it only made sense for her to stay on my futon.
The thing that I found most interesting was what it was like to see Vancouver through her eyes. I’m pretty spoiled – I grew up in the Okanagan where it’s a 25 minute drive from some of the best skiing in the country to beautiful lakes with sandy beaches. Adri is an Ontarian through and through and there were times where I watched her react to what she was seeing and it was so fresh. The day she arrived we walked up to the Queen Elizabeth Park and walked through the gardens before sitting down under a tree and reading and giggling.
We went to Bard twice while Adri was here, seeing shows on both the studio stage and the mainstage (Richard III and As You Like It), and while I’ve always appreciated the view out the back of the tent (including the kids with kites), I feel like I saw it in a whole new way this time. And while my views of performances are colored by having seen these performers in multiple shows both at Bard and elsewhere, it was refreshing to discuss it with someone who isn’t accustomed to seeing these people on stage. This new view of the city is also why there are photos – there’s something about being on vacation that encourages people to take pictures, but I feel like I’m reaping the benefits of that by actually having photos of my summer!
In addition to Bard, I took Adri out to see The Only Animal‘s new show Sea of Sand out at Spanish Banks. We were talking about it and she informed me that in Toronto there simply isn’t site specific theatre like that – what there is are shows in parking lots behind malls. When the sun began to set at Spanish Banks, Adri started to cry because of the beauty of it all. I can’t think of the last time a sunset hit me like that – it’s an every day thing to see the sun set behind a mountain and to have ocean around. I forget the amazing things because I see them so often.
It was the same when we went to Stanley Park – we saw otters swimming as we walked the sea wall and we braved the cold water to go for a swim ourselves. We had a picnic. We laughed in the sun. We got sunburned and dehydrated. We smushed our toes down in the hot hot sand. We read smutty passages from romance novels. It was a perfect summer day and something that I so easily take for granted.
We did all those Vancouver summer things that I never do by myself. We even went down to Robson Square and watched The Muppet Movie on the blow up screen outside. We shopped both main street and down town. We people watched in English Bay. We played Cards Against Humanity. We ate way too much. We made a podcast.
But at the end of the day, what I have taken away from her visit (besides an awesome friend!) is that sometimes its worth looking at everything through a fresh pair of eyes. For 10 days I saw my city and my theatre through a different set of eyes and it made me think about how I talk about both of them and how I experience both of them. Adri left yesterday and I miss her already, but I hope that I can maintain some of the sense of newness as I approach what I see in the weeks to come.