The Shaw Festival, the Canadian theatre experience known for revivals of works by George Bernard Shaw and his contemporaries, opens its 2000 May 24 with The Doctor's Dilemma, kicking off an 11-show season.
Picturesque Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, is the setting for the three-venue festival, operating a half-hour downstream from Niagara Falls. The area is a tourist destination in itself: The falls, wineries, the scenic Niagara Parkway and Niagara Gorge, the Welland Canal (allowing ship to bypass the falls) and War of 1812 sites are all nearby. The town sits on the lip of Lake Ontario and lures millions of seasonal visitors.
Artistic director Christopher Newton stages Bernard Shaw's Doctor's Dilemma in the Festival Theatre, through Oct. 29. The cast includes Severn Thompson, Jim Mezon and Bernard Behrens.
The 2000 season marks a change in mandate for the festival, which was previously devoted to works written during Shaw's long lifetime (1856-1950). Now, under the new mandate, the festival will include works written about the time period Shaw lived, which allows for a new adaptation of Lord of the Flies and a new adaptation of Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own, the musical, She Loves Me (1963) and Thornton Wilder's The Matchmaker (1954).
The season: Festival Theatre
• The Doctor's Dilemma (1906), Shaw's account of a doctor who has the power to save either a gifted, amoral artist or a general practitioner. Newton directs. Through Oct. 29.
• Easy Virtue (1925), Noel Coward's glamorous comedy about attacking social pretensions (a return of the 1999 hit). Newton directs. Opens May 27.
• Lord of the Flies, adapted by Nigel Williams from the William Golding novel (1954), the story of schoolboys stranded in the South Pacific and forming their own cruel society. Neil Munro directs. Opens July 14.
• The Matchmaker (1954), Thornton Wilder's romantic American comedy that was the basis for Hello, Dolly! Newton directs. Opens Aug. 18.
Court House Theatre
• A Woman of No Importance (1893), Oscar Wilde's soaper about a woman, her son and the mysterious Lord Illingworth. Susan Ferley directs. Opens May 27.
• The Apple Cart (1929), Shaw's political comedy about a British king who threatens to resign and run for Parliament. Richard Greenblatt directs. Opens July 13.
• A Room of One's Own (1929), A play by Patrick Garland based on Virginia Woolf's lecture about women's historical experience in society and the struggles of Woolf herself. Micheline Chevrier directs. Opens July 15.
• Six Characters in Search of an Author (1921), Luigi Pirandello's modern existential classic about characters who interrupt a play rehearsal hoping to find a reason for being. Tadeusz Bradecki directs. Opens Aug. 19.
Royal George Theatre
• Time and the Conways (1937), J.B. Priestley's play shows a young woman celebrating her birthday with family and friends, and peers into the future of the characters. Neil Munro directs. Opens May 26.
• She Loves Me (1963), The romantic Broadway musical comedy drawn from the same source that inspired "The Shop Around the Corner" and "You've Got Mail," has a score by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick, with a book by Joe Masteroff. Roger Hodgman directs. Opens May 25.
• Still Life, the one-act by Noel Coward about a chance meeting of would-be lovers on a train platform is the basis for the 1946 film, "Brief Encounter." Director to be announced. Opens July 14.
Previews for the season began May 4 and shows are staged in repertory. Performances end Nov. 11.
Call (800) 511-SHAW for information, or try the web site at www.shawfest.sympatico.ca.
-- By Kenneth Jones