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Bernard Shaw’s The Doctor’s Dilemma at the Shaw Festival

Life does not cease to be funny when people die, any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh.

The Doctor’s Dilemma, the first of two productions by the Shaw Festival’s namesake, begins previews June 10th at the Festival Theatre. Morris Panych directs this comic piece that poses some very relevant questions: when medical resources are limited, should a doctor decide who receives treatment and should those who can afford treatment be the first in line to receive it?

With his usual distinctive wit, Shaw tests the humanity of a doctor and presents a moral dilemma. Sir Colenso Ridgeon (Patrick Galligan) has discovered a lifesaving cure, but faces an ethical quandary. With only enough of his new cure for tuberculosis left for one patient, who should he save? Dr. Blenkinsop (Ric Reid), a kindly colleague who serves the poor, or the extremely talented but unscrupulous young artist Louis Dubedat (Jonathan Gould), who also happens to have a beautiful young wife (Krista Colosimo)?

Also featured are Michael Ball as Sir Patrick Cullen and Thom Marriott as Sir Ralph Bloomfield Bonington, with Wade Bogert-O’Brien, Catherine McGregor, Patrick McManus, Kelly Penner, Cherissa Richards and Jonathan Widdifield.

The Doctor’s Dilemma has set design by Ken MacDonald, costume design by Charlotte Dean and lighting design by Alan Brodie. The stage management team includes Stage Manager Dora Tomassi and Assistant Stage Manager Leigh McClymont.

First performed on November 20, 1906, at the Royal Court Theatre in London, The Doctor’s Dilemma has had three previous incarnations at the Shaw Festival — in 1969, 1991 and 2000, directed respectively by Dillon Evans, Paul Lampert and Christopher Newton.

The Doctor’s Dilemma begins preview performances Thursday, June 10, opens Friday, July 9 and plays in repertory until Saturday, October 30. The Doctor’s Dilemma is sponsored by Bell.

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