LSM Newswire

Monday, July 14, 2008

Shaw Festival: Belle Moral Previews

Previews begin at the Shaw Festival for Darkly Comic Belle Moral: A Natural History

Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, July 14, 2008 Ķ Previews began on Saturday in the Court House Theatre for the Shaw Festivals production of Belle Moral: A Natural History, a spellbinding story by Ann-Marie MacDonald, one of Canadas most beloved writers. The production is a remount of The Shaws hit 2005 production, the plays world premiere.

On a foggy Scottish coast lies an ancestral home called Belle Moral. There, by day, young Pearl MacIsaac (Fiona Byrne) considers questions of science and nature, and by night, dreams of mythical creatures and mysterious brides. This is a house full of mystery just who is in the attic and why does Pearl have an ear in a jar? Part magic, part philosophy and part whodunnit, the darkly comic play is also a rousing call for tolerance and diversity.

The play, a fascinating mix of mystery, science and comedy, was applauded in 2005 for its intelligence, sharp wit and compelling characters. Equally well-received was the direction, design, lighting and music of The Shaws production, which the Company is thrilled to bring back to the Court House stage this season.

Belle Moral: A Natural History has its origins in an earlier play of Ann-Marie MacDonalds. The Arabs Mouth was first produced in 1990 by Torontos Factory Theatre and its then-Artistic Director Jackie Maxwell, now of course The Shaws Artistic Director. Commissioned by The Shaw, the original play was significantly rewritten under the auspices of the Companys play development programme.

Ann-Marie MacDonald is the award-winning author of the play Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet), and the novels The Way the Crow Flies and Fall On Your Knees. She is also an actor and broadcast journalist.

The cast of Belle Moral: A Natural History also includes Jeff Meadows as Victor MacIsaac, Donna Belleville as Flora MacIsaac, and Peter Hutt as Dr. Seamus Reid, as well as Bernard Behrens, Martin Happer, Julie Martell, and Graeme Somerville.

Belle Moral: A Natural History is directed by Alisa Palmer, with design by Judith Bowden, lighting design by Kevin Lamotte, and original music composed by Paul Sportelli. The stage management team includes Stage Manager Meredith Macdonald and Assistant Stage Manager Evan R. Klassen.

Belle Moral: A Natural History began preview performances Saturday, July 12; opens Saturday, July 19; and plays in repertory until Sunday, October 5. For tickets and information, visit www.shawfest.com or call 1-800-511-7429 or 905-468-2172 (local).

Belle Moral: A Natural History is sponsored by Scotiabank Group.

The 2008 season is proudly presented by HSBC Bank Canada/HSBC Bank USA, N.A.


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