"The bonds of family, whether between mother and son, mother and daughter, or among siblings, will be explored in the 15 plays to be presented at the Stratford Festival in 2006," Monette announced Aug. 31.
"The Renaissance scholar Michel de Montaigne said, 'there is little less trouble in governing a private family than a whole kingdom,'" said Monette. "Drama, comedy and tragedy all have their roots in the compelling theatre of life that is closest to us all — our relationships with those tied to us by blood."
This will be the 54th season of the festival, which presents on four stages.
Opening the Festival season on May 29, 2006, will be Shakespeare's Coriolanus, directed by executive director Antoni Cimolino and featuring Colm Feore in the title role.
Other Shakespeares on the slate are Henry IV, Part 1, to be directed by Monette; Much Ado About Nothing, directed by Stephen Ouimette; and Twelfth Night, directed by Leon Rubin. In addition, the Festival will present The Duchess of Malfi by Shakespeare's contemporary John Webster, directed by Peter Hinton. "In all these plays, family has the central role," Monette said. "Prince Hal must choose between the world of his real father, the King, and his adopted father, Falstaff; in Much Ado About Nothing, the story revolves around a wronged young woman who is defended by her father and her cousin. The separation and reunion of the twins Viola and Sebastian is at the heart of Twelfth Night and, in The Duchess of Malfi, we follow the bloodied story of three siblings vying for control over the kingdom, and each other."
Also on the schedule are The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams, directed by Miles Potter; Ghosts by Henrik Ibsen, directed by Ouimette; London Assurance, the comedy of manners by Dion Boucicault, to be directed by Brian Bedford (who will also play Harcourt Courtly, a role that won him a Tony nomination in 1997); The Liar by 17th-century French playwright Pierre Corneille, to be directed by Matthew Jocelyn; Molière's Don Juan (starring Colm Feore in the title role), to be directed by Lorraine Pintal; the musical Oliver!, directed and choreographed by Donna Feore and featuring Feore as Fagin; and South Pacific, directed and choreographed by Michael Lichtefeld and featuring Cynthia Dale as Nellie Forbush.
The musicals and Don Juan and Coriolanus were previously announced.
Rounding out the season are two one-woman showcases: The Blonde, the Brunette, and the Vengeful Redhead, a black comedy about infidelity by Australian Robert Hewett, to be directed by Geordie Johnson; and Fanny Kemble by Peter Hinton, a new play emerging from the Festival's New Play Development Programme about the "remarkable 19th-century Shakespearean actress, author and abolitionist."
An additional Canadian play will be announced for the 2006 season later this year.
For more information, visit www.stratfordfestival.ca.