Quebec actor August Schellenberg is to play King Lear in an all-aboriginal production of the Shakespeare classic as part of the 2011-12 season at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa.
The King Lear set in Canada during the Iroquois/Huronia Wars was one of nine productions announced for the coming season on Tuesday by NAC artistic director Peter Hinton.
Schellenberg, who was nominated for an Emmy for his portrayal of Sitting Bull in the mini-series Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, has appeared at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival and at the Dallas Shakespeare Festival. He has had a wide range of stage roles including Oscar in The Odd Couple, Prince Charming in Cinderella and Jamie Paul in George Ryga’s The Ecstasy of Rita Joe.
Hinton has also lined up the newest work by innovative Canadian writers Daniel MacIvor and Ronnie Burkett.
Alberta marionette master Burkett brings his latest creation, Penny Plain, a gothic thriller about an environmental apocalypse starring a blind puppet and her dog.
MacIvor's newest play is Communion, part of his trilogy centering on women's lives that began with Was Spring.
Other fare for the upcoming season:
- Salt-Water Moon, the most popular of David French's Mercer family series.
- 2 Pianos 4 Hands, with Ted Dykstra and Richard Greenblatt.
- And Slowly Beauty, by Michel Nadeau in a translation by Maureen Labonté.
- Creation, a comedy by Peter Anderson.
- Oliver!, a musical based on the Charles Dickens story.
- Monster Makers, a children's work from Toronto's Mammalian Diving Reflex.
The NAC's resident acting company will star in five of the productions.