Michel Tremblay's Hosanna, Directed by Weyni Mengesha, Begins Stratford Festival Run July 26

News   Michel Tremblay's Hosanna, Directed by Weyni Mengesha, Begins Stratford Festival Run July 26
Hosanna, Canadian playwright Michel Tremblay's play about a drag queen's search for his identity, begins previews July 26 as part of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Ontario.

It plays the intimate Studio Theatre, one of the festival's four venues. Weyni Mengesha, known for her work in Toronto, makes her Stratford directorial debut with the play by Montreal-born Tremblay, a major name in Canadian theatre ( Les Belles-Sœurs, Bonjour, là, bonjour, Albertine in Five Times, For the Pleasure of Seeing Her Again, The Real World?). Her cast includes Gareth Potter as Hosanna and Oliver Becker as Cuirette in a production billed as "raw, tragic and outrageously funny."

The play tells the story of Hosanna — a.k.a. transvestite Claude Lemieux. According to Stratford notes, "Returning in tears from a Halloween party, Hosanna bickers with her partner, Cuirette, as the two prepare for bed. As the mystery of what has so upset her is gradually revealed, Hosanna must confront her illusions and insecurities and ask herself the question of who she really is."

Tremblay's For the Pleasure of Seeing Her Again was seen in 2010 at Stratford.

This is Potter’s eighth season with the Festival. In 2010 he played Ferdinand to Christopher Plummer's Prospero in artistic director McAnuff's production of The Tempest, and Proteus in The Two Gentlemen of Verona. He can also be seen this season as the Earl of Richmond in Richard III.

Becker marks his third season at the Festival this year. His previous Stratford credits include roles in Peter Pan, King of Thieves, Cyrano de Bergerac and Zastrozzi. Becker can also be seen this season in Richard III as Sir Richard Ratcliffe. An award-winning director and dramaturg, she first received acclaim directing 'da Kink in My Hair for Mirvish Productions. She later directed the Dora Award-winning productions of blood.claat and A Raisin in the Sun. Mengesha served as associate artistic director of Theatre Passe Muraille from 2004 to 2006, is a recipient of the Toronto Arts Council's Emerging Artist of the Year Award and serves as the Artistic Director of two youth arts initiatives: Sound the Horn and The AMY (Artists Mentoring Youths).

The Hosanna creative team includes Michael Gianfrancesco (set designer), Dana Osborne (costume designer), Bonnie Beecher (lighting designer), Thomas Ryder Payne (sound designer), Bob White (dramaturg) and Simon Fon (stunt coordinator).

Hosanna opens Aug. 10 and runs in rep to Sept. 24. For tickets visit www.stratfordshakespearefestival.com or call (800) 567-1600.


The Stratford Shakespeare Festival's 2011 season runs until Oct. 30, featuring The Merry Wives of Windsor, Camelot, Twelfth Night, The Misanthrope, The Grapes of Wrath, Jesus Christ Superstar, The Homecoming, Richard III, Titus Andronicus, Shakespeare's Will and The Little Years.

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