Rising Tide in Trinity
Aug 31, 2008
|A Tale of Two Operas - Sunday, August 31
First the soap opera:
Yesterday the day was slightly marred by the discovery that we had a low tire, in the worst possible place at the worst possible time. An inside dual that should have had 80psi was registering 45 and we were 55 miles from the nearest tire shop in Clarenville. To make matters worse, it was Saturday of Labor Day weekend and everyone was sure to be closed. (Newfoundlanders take their time off very seriously, as do all Canadians.)
There was nothing to be done but to drive slowly to the nearest campground (which we did) and hope that the leak was slow enough that it wouldn’t go completely flat (which fortunately it didn’t). That took care of yesterday and bought us a good night’s sleep, but now it’s Sunday of a three day weekend and we’re still 50 miles from town with a disturbingly low inside dual tire. At times like this I thank whatever gods that be that I have a brave and courageous wife who is a rock in times of trouble. We set out for Clarenville.
As always, there was some good news, and some bad news. The good news was that our trip would be all on the Trans Canadian Highway which is wide and smooth and well maintained. The bad news was that our trip would be all on the Trans Canadian Highway, which has only one lane in each direction much of the way, and is the major truck route with a speed limit of 100! That is in kph, but it translates to 62 mph which is still faster than I wanted to go.
But on a downhill grade with five semi’s breathing down your neck, there is a need to compromise. So we went a lot faster than I wanted to go when we had to, and breathed a sigh of relief on the upgrades when we could pull over and let traffic go around us in the passing lane. An anxious hour later we pulled into the Canadian Tire Co. parking lot in Clarenville with still 40 something psi in the dual and both tires warm but not hot.
The service center was closed for the weekend, but the rest of the store was open and a nice clerk set me up with an air hose. I equalized both tires at 82 which took care of the immediate problem, and now our problem was what to do for the next two days until the service center opens on Tuesday morning. We decided to do our grocery shopping, get gas and have lunch, and then see what the tire was doing. Two hours later it was still holding so we decided to head out the Bonavista Peninsula a ways and see if we could make it to Trinity.
Now the Folk Opera:
By Labor Day Newfoundland is winding down as a tourist destination. A lot of the campgrounds will be closing soon, as kids go back to school and the weather gets progressively colder. As the tourists depart, Newfoundlanders take advantage of the opportunity to see and enjoy their own province. Trinity is close enough to St. Johns that it gets a lot of local business, and so we were lucky again to find a tiny 7 unit campground with one space left. Since that was all we needed, we took it.
The little town of Trinity is about half way out the Bonavista Peninsula. It is on the water and it’s an old fishing village that has been largely restored. The historic commercial center is now mostly galleries, restaurants and shops, and a number of the historic old homes are now B and B’s. It’s a colorful and attractive town set in a location of great natural beauty. This has made it a major tourist attraction, which in turn has allowed it to support a lively theatrical group that calls itself Rising Tide Theatre.
We drove into town and found the theater, (they use the English ‘theatre’) and we scored two tickets to the evening production of A Nobleman’s Wedding. It is a tragic melodrama set to music, and that means it has the potential to be either stiflingly tedious, or really good. To us it didn’t matter, we knew we’d enjoy it just being here.
We already had a great parking space in their nice lot, and since we have our home with us we decided to just stay there until the show. We wanted to see the town but it was starting to rain, so we wrote postcards until it stopped, and then got out and roved the town, taking pictures and enjoying the peaceful ambiance of a town where time seems to have stood still for a bit.
We caught a sandwich and a bowl of soup just in time to make it to the performance. The theatre is small and intimate, about the size of the one in Cow Head. This time the show was not a comedy, but it was astonishingly good nonetheless. Music was provided by a pianist who played all during the time people were getting seated, and then played the entire show too. He was later joined at times by a guitar and a fiddle, which fit in perfectly with the Folk Opera theme.
The plot was a familiar one. Daughter of a rich merchant is in love with a common sailor. Father wants her to marry a rich squire so he arranges to have the sailor Shanghaied off to a British man-o-war that is leaving on a ten year cruise. He tells the girl he heard the sailor was drowned, and so she finally agrees to marry the rich man. On the wedding night sailor returns, himself now a wealthy man and he and the squire agree to a dual. The next morning the daughter steps between the dualists and gets herself killed by a shot from the squire. Her father shoots the sailor, and it’s a two hankie ending all around.
Two factors combined to turn this predictable plot into a first rate production. First it was set in Newfoundland with Newfoundland folk music, and second it was acted and sung exceedingly well. The players were likeable and human, and even though they had to sing every line, they did it with beauty and grace and made it believable. No high tech little personal microphones here either. They sang to two overhead mikes and had to project their voices to make themselves heard. In spite of this they were easily understandable and the effort of projecting did not detract from the natural flow of the lyrics. It was all done in one act, and at the end they got a richly deserved standing ovation from an enthusiastic crowd.
It was a five minute drive back to our campground, then a tricky job backing in in the dark, but we made it with air in our tires! What more could we possibly wish for?