Date #10 – A night out at the National Arts Centre

Because of a short vacation jaunt out to Alberta, it has been a couple of weeks since I took myself on a date. I had a busy week filled with long days and evening meetings prior to my time away, and I returned home to full week, of yet more long days and evening meetings.

One of the things that I have appreciated about this decision to date myself is that I am regularly looking for things to do that interest me. I scour the on-line blogs for ideas of things to do, scanning the event calendars of EventBrite and the various venues in Ottawa for things that inspire, intrigue and engage me as date-night possibilities. I am a planner by nature and having things booked in my schedule that might be a couple of days away, or a couple of weeks away provides me with a sense of anticipation of activities to look forward to.

This was the case as I returned to Ottawa on a late Tuesday afternoon. I had meetings booked late into the evening on the Wednesday and the early evening of the Thursday. However, several weeks earlier, I had purchased tickets to see a play entitled “Calpurnia” at the National Arts Centre. My Thursday evening meeting was something that had just been squeezed in prior to my vacation, but I was sure that I could still accommodate my date night plans. When Thursday night rolled around, I was tired and a part of me wanted to skip my plans for the theatre and head home. A part of me wanted a hot bath, cozy jammies and my bed. Another part of me had been in my head this morning encouraging me to put the effort into what I was going to wear for the day in anticipation of a date night with myself. I put on my favourite skirt – it is silky and mid-calf with a mix of neutral colours of black, beige and white. It goes with so many other colours, but I paired it with a simple black top and a colourful teal necklace made of shells. My favourite part of my outfit was my genuine Texas cowgirl boots that give me an extra spring in step.

The National Arts Centre (NAC) is about a 17 minute walk from my office downtown, so as my meeting was planned to run right up until the start of the play, I switched from participating on my computer to participating on my phone for the last twenty minutes as I walked to the NAC. Once I got moving towards the event, I felt really good about my decision to have planned for the theatre, and two that I had decided to leave my car at work and to walk for the evening.

The NAC has kept the restrictions in place for everyone to continue to wear masks, which continues to add a feeling of security for me. I had purchased tickets to a play entitled Calpurnia, by Audrey Dwyer. In short, it is a play that is named after the housekeeper Calpurnia in the book (and movie) To Kill A Mockingbird. The play has a small cast centring around an Afro-Caribbean family living in Toronto. Julie is a twenty-something woman living with her father (Lawrence),a judge, and her brother, Mark, a lawyer. Mark is struggling to live up to his father’s expectations and the play concerns an evening where Lawrence has invited one of his friends/colleagues (James) over to dinner in a plan to see Mark receive a partnership offer in James’s law firm. Also invited for dinner is Mark’s white girlfriend – and Julie’s friend – Christine. The family has a Filipina housekeeper Precy. Julie is a screen writer attempting to write a play focussing on Calpurnia, the maid in To Kill A Mockingbird and her brother accuses her of not being black enough, of not being able to relate enough to the reality of Calpurnia to write an effective play.

I won’t give away the rest of the plot, but it was an interesting exploration of the dynamics of race, economic class, white privilege, and the expectations that we have of our children. It was a thought provovoking and engaging play that kept me completely focussed on the events even as I was tired after a long day at work.

Stage of Calpurnia

After the play ended, I made my way out to the street and spent some time walking around the edges of Confederation park beside the NAC, enjoying the night air. It was a cool and crisp evening and I felt relaxed and content with the evening. I made my way across the city streets, slowly walking back to me car. I felt this desire to stretch my evening out and not rush my return to my car. As I strolled the streets, I focussed on taking relaxed deep breaths and feeling fully present in the moment. By the time I reached my work building there was a feeling of deep relaxation.

The evening was uneventful as I arrived at my car and made my way home. I reflected that had I not bought these tickets weeks in advance, I would have likely left work that evening and headed home for a quite evening curled up in my bed or on my couch. That would have been fine, but I really want to challenge myself to use at least some of my time with more engaging activities. I enjoyed the evening and my time out at the theatre.

Cost of the date – $72

I rate this date – 9/10

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