Canadian Shakespeare News

The Death of a Chief Featured by CASP

Author: Sorouja Moll
Date: Mon, 31 Jul 2006 13:33:41 EST

Yvette Nolan and co-adapter/co-director Kennedy Cathy MacKinnon’s Shakespearean adaptation The Death of a Chief rebuilds and restructures the historic tragedy of Julius Caesar to address Aboriginal issues concerning politics, gender, class, race, and nation. On Saturday, February 18, 2006, the adaptation’s fourth workshop was performed by Native Earth Performing Arts at FOOT 2006 – The Festival of Original Theatre “Performing Adaptations” at the Robert Gill Theatre (University of Toronto). For Nolan, it’s all about the process, a process in understanding the complexities of community, ambition, power, betrayal and the lives of Native people in Canada today ; a process of theatre reworking historic and present day political systems to make leaders more accountable to the people.The Canadian Adaptations of Shakespeare Project’s (CASP) webpage for The Death of a Chief offers links to additional resources and information. For the essay concerning The Death of Chief, as well as access to two versions of the workshops’ scripts and a comparative study to Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, please visit the CASP Online Anthology.  For an interview with director/playwright Yvette Nolan, where Nolan discusses her work on The Death of a Chief, political structures, and the process of adaptation, please visit
CASP’s Interview.

The CASP Multimedia page about The Death of a Chief includes a 17-image slide show, as well as the conference program from the 2006 workshop.  The CASP Spotlight page 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 several additional links to important centres devoted to developing aboriginal theatre, like Native Earth Performing Arts.  The Death of a Chief is scheduled for full production in 2007.

“Native Earth Performing Arts is Canada’s oldest professional Native theatre company. Dedicated to creating and producing Native theatre and dance” (qtd. from Native Earth Performing Arts website). The Canadian Adaptation of Shakespeare Project is grateful to Nina Lee Aquino, Marketing and Development Coordinator, at Native Earth Performing Arts (NEPA) for her assistance in producing the web page for The Death of a Chief.

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