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Actors’ Shakespeare Project presents Othello beginning March 10


Actors’ Shakespeare Project continues its 2009-2010 Season with Othello, directed by Judy Braha, previewing on March 10th, 11th and 12th, opening on March 13th and running through April 4th at Villa Victoria Center for the Arts, 85 W. Newton Street, Boston (formerly the Jorge Hernandez Cultural Center) in the South End.

Often called Shakespeare’s most intimate tragedy, Othello is a timely play of race, politics, and the marriage bed. In A.S.P.’s modern production, Othello’s story resonates strongly with all too familiar media headlines. A young public figure on the political rise, and esteemed general in the service of Venice, Othello has recently wed Desdemona, the daughter of a senator. When he promotes Michael Cassio to be his lieutenant, the brilliant, politically ambitious, and passed over Iago is enraged and plots revenge. Othello aspires to belong to Desdemona’s world and instead becomes victim to its bigotry and his own inner demons through Iago’s keen psychological manipulation.

“To me, Othello is Shakespeare’s bullet to the heart of the 21st century. It illuminates so much about human nature, the criminal mind, the capacity of the heart for love, bitterness and doubt, as well as the unquenchable fire of ambition.” says director Judy Braha. “Choosing to set our production in the near future forces us to look at the ramifications of race and power in a much more diverse world. In this play, we explore the pressures of celebrity and rejection, and the power of “spin” and theatrical illusion to steal us from ourselves, to alter perspective in amazing and terrifying ways.”

A.S.P. Resident Company Member Jason Bowen plays the title role, Ken Cheeseman returns to play Iago, and newcomer Brooke Hardman plays Desdemona. A.S.P. Resident Company Members Paula Langton, Doug Lockwood, Bobbie Steinbach, & Michael Forden Walker, are joined by Olivia Hendrick, Cloteal Horne, Matt Ketai, Sydney Lemmon and Denise Marie to round out the cast.

The creative team for Othello is led by director, Judy Braha with Karen Krolak and Joyce Van Dyke, assisting; Tijana Bjelajac, scenic design, Nancy Leary, costume designer; Annie Weigand, lighting designer; G.W. Rodriguez, sound designer; Robert Najarian, violence designer; Tori Woodhouse, stage manager; and Jason Ries, production manager.

Villa Victoria Center for the Arts, where A.S.P. staged its 2005 production of Measure for Measure, is a suggestive space for the production. Once a church, now a dance hall, the venue mixes traditional and modern elements, and features a sweeping staircase appropriate to the political stage, while also creating an intimate atmosphere to feed the feeling of a personal, bedroom drama. In typical A.S.P. fashion, the production will include significant project work including an Open Rehearsal, a Community Night performance, education residencies in Charlestown High School and the Department of Youth Services, and an Othello Conversations Panel. Home to elegant Victorian brick row houses and one of the most diverse populations in Boston, the South End blends many of the best elements of the city.

Some of Boston’s finest dining can be found lining Tremont Street and the arts shine throughout the neighborhood. For more information on the production or the project elements, please visit actorsshakespeareproject.org.

Compiled from the press release courtesy of the Actors' Shakespeare Project.

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