Canadian Adaptations of Shakespeare Project
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Kennedy Cathy MacKinnon and Yvette Nolan's The Death of a Chief

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On Saturday, February 18, 2006, the fourth workshop of The Death of a Chief was performed at FOOT 2006 – The Festival of Original Theatre “Performing Adaptations” at the Robert Gill Theatre (University of Toronto).  The Canadian Adaptations of Shakespeare Project (CASP) provides a Multimedia page devoted to The Death of a Chief workshop which features a 17-image slide show and the conference program for FOOT 2006.

CASP has also created other pages that provide additional resources and information.  Link to the Online Anthology for an essay concerning The Death of Chief, access to the two versions of the workshops’ scripts, and a comparative study with  Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar.  For a discussion of The Death of a Chief with director/playwright Yvette Nolan, please visit CASP’s second interview with Nolan.  The CASP Spotlight section features a spotlight on Canadian Aboriginal Adaptations of Shakespeare where information concerning aboriginal adaptations of Shakespeare and aboriginal-themed adaptations are featured, as well as additional links to important centres devoted to developing aboriginal theatre, like Native Earth Performing ArtsThe Death of a Chief is scheduled for full production in 2007.



The slide show images above depict the first seven minutes of the Saturday, February 18, 2006 workshop, and distills sequentially Kennedy Cathy MacKinnon’s and Yvette Nolan’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar in The Death of a Chief.   The company of actors involved in this workshop are listed below.  The workshop’s choreographer was Tamara Podemski and Isaac Thomas was the production’s stage manager.

The February 2006 workshop was performed by eleven actors:

Monique Mojica

Monique Mojica, actor and published playwright, belongs to the second generation spun from the web of New York’s Spiderwoman Theater. A veteran theatre artist and former Artistic Director of NEPA, she is 1/3 of Turtle Gals Performance Ensemble co-founded with Jani Lauzon and Michelle St. John.

Ryan Cunningham

Ryan Cunningham is originally from Edmonton where he studied theatre at Grant MacEwan College.  Most recently Ryan was seen playing Bobby Strong in the Western Canadian premiere of Urinetown: The Musical at the Firehall Arts Centre in Vancouver.  Selected acting credits for Native Earth:  Weesageechak XVIII, XVII and XVI, Dreary and Izzy and The Death of a Chief  (at FOOT Festival). Other theatre highlights include Suicide Notes (SummerWorks Festival), IOU Land (Caravan Farm Theatre), national tour of Danny: King of the Basement (Roseneath Theatre), Cannibal! The Musical (HitN’Run Prod.), Superhero (Azimuth), Love! Valour! Compassion! (Studio Theatre). 

Michelle St. John

Michelle St. John is a two-time Gemini Award winning actor with experience in film, television, theatre, voice and music.  Selected credits:  Where the Spirit Lives, Smoke Signals, Northern Exposure and The Business of Fancydancing.  She is also Co-Artistic Director of Turtle Gals Performance Ensemble and Producer/Host of Red Tales – a weekly Native literary show on Aboriginal Voices Radio.

Cheri Maracle-Cardinal

Cheri is an actor/singer/songwriter, of Mohawk/ Irish ancestry, based in Toronto, Ontario. Cheri has enjoyed a career performing on stages in Canada and abroad for over a decade, both as an actor and vocalist.  Selected theatre credits include: Buz Gem Blues (Trinity Repertory Theatre Co.), Ernestine Shuswap Gets Her Trout (W.C.T.C.), The Storyteller’s Bag (Mississauga Performing Arts Centre) and Sheroes (Theatre Passe Muraille)Cheri is on the Advisory Board for Kanata Native Dance Theatre, and sits on the Board for the ImagineNative Film Festival.

Craig Lauzon

As a proud member of the theatre troupe Tonto’s Nephews, Craig took part in last year’s Weesageechak as a performer and the writer for Ever Sick!  He is also the newest face of the comedic icons Royal Canadian Air Farce.  Previously his works have been nominated for the Tim Sims Encouragement Award and 3 Canadian Comedy Awards.

Jani Lauzon

Jani Lauzon is a two time Dora nominated actress, a three time Juno nominated singer/songwriter (with two independent recordings through her record company Ra Records) and is the creator of several children's television puppet characters, including Grannie on The Mr. Dress-Up Show. She recently won a Gemini for her role as Seeka in the series Wumpa's World, the first Métis puppeteer to garner the award. She is a co-founder of Turtle Gals Performance Ensemble.  Theatre performances include Diva Ojibway and Son of Ayash; Native Earth, Almighty Voice and his Wife; GCTC, Whale; YPT, The Collected Works of Billy the Kid; ATP and Shylock in Shakespeare in the Rough’s The Merchant of Venice.

Clifford Cardinal

Clifford first worked with Native Earth at the 2005 Rhubarb Festival playing Frank in Freeman’s Wake, and again at the Harbourfront Centre festival presentation of TransCanada.  Clifford lives in East York where he plays occasionally with improv troupe Tonto’s Nephews as well as two local bands.

Sara Sinclair

Sara’s work in the short film Off the Menu will be seen at the legendary theatre in the upcoming Los Angeles Shorts Festival.  With Native Earth, she has appeared in a number of readings, including Frangipani Perfume at Harbourfront’s Planet Indigenous Festival.  Sara is a graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts (N.Y.C.)  In New York City, she appeared in productions of Savage in Limbo and The River Runs Through It, both with La Resistance Theatre Company.

Michelle Latimer

Selected credits include: Benita in Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love (Crow's Theatre/Buddies in Bad Times Theatre), Aksinya in Chekhov Longs...In the Ravine (Theatre Smith-Gilmour/Factory Theatre), Virginia in the one-woman show idiot (SummerWorks; Winner of the Guy Contra Award), and Diana in Anne (The Grand Theatre).  Film and Television: Series lead Paradise Falls (Showcase), Resident Evil: Apocalypse (Constantin Films/Alliance Atlantis), Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen (Disney), guest star in Puppets Who Kill (Comedy Network), recurring role in Train 48 (Global).  Michelle is a graduate of Concordia University's BFA, Theatre Performance program.

Tara Beagan

Alberta born actor/playwright, Tara has found an artistic home in Toronto. Recent work includes creating and performing in the UnSpun Collective piece, Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, acting in workshops of Julius Caesar- The Death of A Chief (Native Earth), and two seasons as trouble-prone 'Donna Bernard' on CBC's This is Wonderland. Recent writing includes radio play Hometime for CBC Radio (to air on Sunday Showcase, Radio One), further development of Dora Award winning play Thy Neighbour's Wife at the Banff playRites Colony this past May, and lately, the final touches on Dreary and Izzy. Tara is honoured that Dreary and Izzy is premiering at Native Earth Performing Arts, which she knows to be the play’s rightful home. Upcoming work is a site-inspired ensemble piece at Old Fort York with Crate Productions, and a full-scale production of Head Smashed In with UnSpun this coming Spring.  Tara will be working on the 2006 Tarragon Playwrights Unit.

Falen Johnson

Falen is from the Six Nations Reserve. She is a recent graduate of George Brown Theatre School. Earlier this year she participated in Native Earth’s Weesageechak festival, as well as Nightwood Theatre’s Groundswell festival. She also completed a workshop with Native Earth, for an adaptation of Julius Caesar.


FOOT conference cover


Link to Program

The Death of a Chief was presented as a workshop production at FOOT 2006, The Festival of Original Theatre: Performing Adaptations hosted by the University of Toronto. The program for this conference is available here, which includes a brief description of MacKinnon and Nolan's work in progress as of February of 2006.






Link to Database
Link to Interview

Link to Anthology

Link to Canadian Aboriginal Adaptations of Shakespeare Spotlight

CASP gratefully acknowledges Yvette Nolan's, Kennedy Cathy MacKinnon's and Native Earth Performing Arts' permission to publish this material to its website.

Disclaimer: This site has been designed with only non-commercial, academic uses in mind. Although every effort has been made to secure permission for materials uploaded on the CASP site, in some circumstances we have been unable to locate copyright holders. Links may be made to our site but under no conditions are the texts and images to be copied and mounted onto another site server. Researchers using the site should accredit it following standard MLA guidelines on how to do so. Correct citation of information from the site is as follows:

Fischlin, Daniel. Canadian Adaptations of Shakespeare Project. University of Guelph. 2004.


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