CLARKE, Denise

Author Tags: Theatre

Inspired by Bill Burn's non-fiction book A Man, A Woman, and a Golden Eagle, playwright Denise Clarke wrote Featherland: The Magical True Tale of an Extraordinary Love Triangle (Red Deer Press, 2001), about Cecil and Adele Hyndman who open an avian menagerie in rural B.C. In the play, as imagined by the character of biographer Bill Burns, the couple form erotic attachments to a female golden eagle named Susan and a bizarre love triangle ensues. Born in Calgary in 1957, Clarke became a permanent member of the One Yellow Rabbit (OYR) ensemble in 1986, creating and co-creating various OYR productions such as Erotic Irony of Old Glory, Featherland and Sign Language. Among her many stage roles she has portrayed Ilsa, Queen of the Nazi Love Camp in Vancouver. She has also choreographed musical theatre for the likes of Edmonton’s Citadel Theatre, Theatre Calgary and The Canadian Stage in Toronto.

[BCBW 2005] "Theatre"

Featherland at the Belfry Theatre
Press Release (2005)

Woman, Bird, Man: Featherland, the magical, true tale of an extraordinary love triangle opens the Belfry's Festival.

Victoria, BC...from February 22- 27, 2005 the Belfry Theatre will present Featherland by Denise Clarke as part of Festival.05. Directed by Blake Brooker, Featherland is produced by Calgary's One Yellow Rabbit Performance Theatre and features Denise Clarke, Andy Curtis, Michael Green, Onalea Gilbertson and Jennifer Roberts. By any measure, the late Cecil and Adele Hyndman led an Unusual life. They built and managed an avian sanctuary near Victoria
called “Featherland”, where they developed an unprecedented understanding of bird behavior. Among many extraordinary experiences, Cecil taught a seagull to speak.

In 1955, the Hyndmans’ world changed forever with the arrival of a golden eagle who had been deemed by her previous owners too violent for the sport of falconry. Her name was Susan, and the great bird would eventually become a beloved resident of the Hyndman's own bedroom - the scene of a decades-long saga of passion, jealousy and betrayal. Inspired by the book Raising Susan: A Man, A Woman, and a Golden Eagle by BC writer Bill Burns, Denise Clarke's Featherland begins through the eyes of Burns himself, played by Andy Curtis. Michael Green is Cecil Hyndman and Jennifer Roberts plays his wife, Adele. Denise Clarke plays the massive raptor, Susan, and Onalea Gilbertson as Kluane, a second golden eagle who further tangles the complex relationships of Featherland.

Directed by Blake Brooker and featuring a sound score by Richard McDowell using actual birdsongs recorded by Cecil, who was the CBC's first sound effects specialist, Featherland is a gloriously romantic evocation of the mystic bonds between humans and animals.

“…delightful, high-flying fantasy…a sharp etched physical comedy tinted with authentic feeling.”- The Globe and Mail

“warm, stylish and spellbinding…a soaring achievement.” - The Calgary Sun

Audience Advice: Featherland contains nudity