The darkly comic play, directed by Alisa Palmer, is billed as a "fascinating mix of mystery, science and comedy" and is set on "a foggy Scottish coast" in "an ancestral home called Belle Moral." According to press notes, "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 cast of 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.
The direction, design, lighting and music of The Shaw's 2005 production return for this 2008 staging.
Belle Moral: A Natural History has its origins in an earlier play of MacDonald's: The Arab's Mouth, which was first produced in 1990 by Toronto's Factory Theatre and its then-artistic director Jackie Maxwell, now artistic director of The Shaw.
Commissioned by The Shaw, MacDonald significantly rewrote the original play under the auspices of the company's play development program. 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.
Belle Moral has 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.
The production began preview performances July 12 and plays in repertory until Oct. 5.
For tickets and information visit www.shawfest.com or call (800) 511-7429 or (905) 468-2172.