The Gallery Players present The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice, its fourth annual production of Shakespeare in the Summer. Othello runs from this evening, July 19th, through Sunday afternoon, August 5th. Long-standing member of the Pearl Theatre Resident Acting Company and former Gallery Players board president, Dominic Cuskern, produces. Mark Harborth, Gallery board president and admired director of many Gallery favorites--among them, Noises Off, Jesus Christ Superstar, Chess, and last year'sMacbeth--will direct again.
Begun shortly after the completion of Hamlet, The Tragedy of Othello brought to the stage the exotic world of 'the Barbarians', as Muslim visitors to Shakespeare's London were called. In 1600, the Lord Chamberlain's Men, Shakespeare's troupe, had performed before an embassy from the King of Barbary to the court of Queen Elizabeth. The curious English distrust of foreigners, in this case leading to rampant rumors of their proud, jealous character and murderous habits, made Othello a sure draw to the theater. Add to that the court of Venice--the most admired of the Italian city-states--the marriage of a high-born Venetian lady to that state's Moorish general, their removal to Cyprus, and the subsequent violent undoing of that union, and theatrical success was assured. So successful was Othello, it was one of the first plays revived when playhouses were reopened during the Restoration of the monarchy--56 years after its first performance--and had the distinction of being the first play in which women, not boys, played women's parts. And it continued to be performed throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, unlike most of Shakespeare's works: only periodically revived until the latter 20th.
Othello will be produced virtually uncut, following both historical and textual cues, honoring Shakespeare's craft by selecting production elements simply to serve the story. Working in collaboration with his carefully-chosen ensemble, director Harborth will illuminate the Bard's "round unvarnish'd tale" of the vulnerability of reputation to concerted rumor and innuendo, the human cost of misplaced trust.
There will be a cast of 14, including: Joe Beuerlein, Kevin Blackwelder, Mark Cajigao*, Gowen Campbell, Ray Crisara*, David PatRick Ford*, Sidney Fortner*, R.J. Foster*, Mark A. Kinch, Louis Lavoie, Lesey Noyes, Matthew Roth, Lauren Sowa*, Montgomery Sutton*. Fight Choreographer: Joe Travers; Set Designer: Giovanni Villari; Lighting Designer: Scott A. Calley; Sound Designer: Jacob Subotnick; Costume Designer: Shana Goldberger; Assistant Director/Dramaturge, Text/Speech Coach: Sidney Fortner; Stage Manager: Becky J. Doster; Assistant Stage Manager: Tim Sheridan.
*Member of Actor's Equity Association.
The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice opens this evening, July 19 and runs for 13 performances through Sunday. August 5, 2012. Performances take place Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 7:30pm; matinees are Sunday at 3pm. There will be a special "pay-what-you-will" performance on Monday, July 23, at 7:30pm. Othellois an Actors Equity Association showcase, approval pending.