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The Shaw Festival Announces 2010 Season

Media Release #28
Bernard Shaw once wrote: “When a thing is funny, search it for a hidden truth.”  Reflecting on this quote, Artistic Director Jackie Maxwell acknowledged; “From the wit of Wilde, the gentle comedy of Chekhov to the barbed banter of Shaw and the cutting satire of Churchill, the Shaw Festival’s 2010 Season is infused with many facets of humour.  These brilliant playwrights’ ability to subvert and challenge, while making us laugh, enables us to hold a mirror up to the human condition and reveal its true reflection.”  The Shaw Festival’s 2010 Season resonates with the wit, social commentary and relevance for which Bernard Shaw himself was well known. 

Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, September 26, 2009 . . . Artistic Director Jackie Maxwell officially announced the Shaw Festival’s 2010 Season playbill today. The 2010 Season includes ten productions, two of which are by the Festival’s namesake, presented on the Festival’s four Niagara-on-the-Lake stages: the Festival Theatre, the Court House Theatre, the Royal George Theatre and the Studio Theatre.

At the Festival Theatre, Morris Panych directs Bernard Shaw’s The Doctor’s Dilemma.  This clever skewering of the medical establishment regarding the allocation of scarce medical resources and the perpetual debate as to whether society needs Science more than Art continues to have timely relevance.  At the Court House Theatre, Artistic Director Emeritus Christopher Newton directs John Bull’s Other Island; Shaw’s unromantic look at the romance of Ireland and of the cultural misunderstandings and misconceptions that still thrive to this day between the English and the Irish. 

The game of backroom politics, the notion of the “good” politician and his supportive wife take centre stage at the Festival Theatre when Artistic Director Jackie Maxwell directs Oscar Wilde’s glittering intrigue, An Ideal Husband.  Also at the Festival Theatre, Alisa Palmer directs The Women, Clare Boothe Luce’s seductively sardonic peek into the inner sanctum of the fairer sex.  

In addition to Bernard Shaw’s John Bull’s Other Island, the Court House Theatre hosts Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard and Canadian playwright Linda Griffiths’ Age of Arousal.  The gently comic Chekhovian tale of an eccentric family’s half-hearted attempt to preserve their long-established way of life in the face of inevitable progress is given a new twist when Ireland’s Jason Byrne directs Tom Murphy’s adaptation.  Ms Maxwell directs Linda Griffiths’ sensual story of female liberation set in a secretarial school at the turn of the last century.  

On the Royal George Theatre stage, Joseph Ziegler returns to direct the Pulitzer Prize-winning play Harvey by Mary Chase.  The Shaw reinvigorates this classic story that dares ask: what truly is a “perfectly normal human being”?  One Touch of Venus by Kurt Weill, Ogden Nash and S.J. Perelman, this season’s musical selection, will also be presented at the Royal George Theatre.  The Shaw’s Associate Director Eda Holmes directs this absurd Manhattan caper that swayed New Yorker and Marx Brothers writer S.J. Perelman to combine his humorist writing talents with the brilliant lyrical wordplay of Ogden Nash and the stunning symphonic compositions of Kurt Weill.  The production features such memorable Weill tunes as Speak Low, That’s Him, The Trouble with Women, Foolish Heart and I’m a Stranger Here Myself.  

Can a life change in half an hour?  This season’s lunchtime aims to answer this question in real time.  J.M. Barrie’s shocking one-act play Half an Hour will be presented at the Royal George Theatre.  Gina Wilkinson, who made her Festival directorial debut with the 2009 runaway hit Born Yesterday, returns to direct.

Continuing its ongoing look at contemporary Shavians, The Shaw presents Serious Money by Caryl Churchill in the Studio Theatre.  Directed by Eda Holmes, this provocative no-holds barred satire is vintage Churchill exposing the lawless landscape of the 1980’s stock exchange through the fusion of verse, music and the lingo and raunchy humour of the rising young traders and corporate raiders. 

In the spirit of George Bernard Shaw, the Shaw Festival provokes the mind and stirs the soul through a theatre experience so compelling that, year after year, ever-broadening groups of actors, audiences and supporters are drawn to our work in Niagara-on-the-Lake and beyond.


Please visit our website at www.shawfest.com/news for other Shaw Festival media releases. For more information, or to download images from our image bank to accompany this release, members of the media may contact:

Odette Yazbeck
Public Relations Director
(905) 468-2153 or 1-800-657-1106 ext. 2222

Jenniffer Anand
Public Relations Coordinator
(905) 468-2153 or 1-800-657-1106 ext. 2224

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