Press Release | Shakespeare’s tragedy Othello begins previews

August 3, 2013… Shakespeare’s Othello, the classic tragedy of an interracial marriage fatally undermined by the deadly insinuations of a master manipulator, begins previews at the Avon Theatre on Sunday, August 4.

Award-winning theatre and film director Chris Abraham returns for his fourth season at the Festival. Following his popular staging of The Matchmaker, as well as audience favourites The Little Years in 2011 and For the Pleasure of Seeing Her Again in 2010, this production will be Mr. Abraham’s first Shakespearean assignment at Stratford.

“Othello, like Hamlet, Macbeth and Lear, struggles to locate the truth in an uncertain world,” says Mr. Abraham. “How is one to know anything about anybody? What is true and what is false? How can you know for sure? Are we fundamentally that mysterious to each other? It’s a terrifying question and one of ultimate importance, hinting that the dynamics of doubt and faith, more than jealousy, constitute the maddeningly dangerous subject of the play.”

The play centres on the Moorish general Othello, whose valiant exploits have earned him the gratitude of the Venetian state he serves – and the love of Desdemona, who defies social convention and her father’s will to marry him. But Othello’s ensign, Iago, harbours a secret resentment – and during a mission to Cyprus, he plants the seed that will destroy Othello’s love.

In a season built around a cluster of inter-connected themes, Othello is one example of how this year’s playbill becomes more than the sum of its parts.

“In assembling this season, I wanted to offer plays that reflect, complement and comment on each other,” says Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino. “For instance, The Merchant of Venice and Othello are two very different plays, but both informed by the same themes – specifically, the role of the outsider. Each offers a fulfilling experience on its own, but those who see both productions will have a fuller opportunity to draw connections between them.

Othello is one of the great plays in the world – both for its language and its characters, and ultimately for what it has to say about overcoming our differences and how hard that can be. I am thrilled to have this production in the very capable hands of Chris Abraham, who has quickly become one of our principal directors. His work is always entertaining and his bold staging of this powerful production is no exception.”

The play features Graham Abbey as Iago, Bethany Jillard as Desdemona and Dion Johnstone as Othello, with Shauna Black as Bianca, Deborah Hay as Emilia, Brad Hodder as Cassio, Peter Hutt as Brabantio, Mike Shara as Roderigo and Brian Tree as Gratiano.

The artistic team features Designer Julie Fox, Lighting Designer Michael Walton, Composer and Sound Designer Thomas Ryder Payne, Dramaturge Robert Blacker and Fight Director John Stead.

Othello Forum Highlights 

The Forum, the new festival within the Festival, is a series of activities and events designed to make a visit to Stratford an immersive, all-encompassing cultural experience. Through debates, talks, concerts, comedy nights, hands-on workshops and more, The Forum offers theatregoers more ways to discover and examine the themes running through this season’s productions.

Othello will be explored through several Forum events, including: Honest Villains and Noble Killers: The Iago/Othello Character Dynamic, the second annual Stratford Festival symposium, in which leading artists and scholars express their views on the play; Othello vs Otello, in which Verdi aficionado John Zaretti of the Verdi Opera Theatre of Michigan and Othello director Chris Abraham discuss the play and the operatic adaptation and their respective strengths and genius; and Sex and Love in Verona, Venice and Vienna, a talk by Stanley Wells, Honorary President, Life Trustee and former Chairman of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and general editor of the Oxford and Penguin Shakespeares.

Support for the inaugural season of The Forum is generously provided by Kelly and Michael Meighen and the Province of Ontario, in partnership with the University of Waterloo, with media sponsorship provided by The Walrus. Support for the Speakers Series is generously provided in memory of Dr. Philip Hayman. Support for the Symposium is generously provided by Dr. Jules and Josephine Harris.

Othello officially opens on August 14 and runs until October 19. For tickets, contact the box office at 1.800.567.1600 or visit stratfordfestival.ca.

Othello is sponsored by BMO Financial Group. Production support is generously provided by Larry Enkin & family in memory of Sharon Enkin and Martie & Bob Sachs.

Support for the 2013 season of the Avon Theatre is generously provided by the Birmingham Family.

The Festival’s new Toronto bus service, Stratford Direct, is now available twice daily on performance days for only $20 return. Reservations can be made through the box office.

Support for Stratford Direct is generously provided by The Peter Cundill Foundation.

The Stratford Festival’s 2013 season runs until October 20, featuring Romeo and JulietFiddler on the RoofThe Three MusketeersThe Merchant of VeniceTommyBlithe SpiritOthelloMeasure for MeasureMary StuartWaiting for Godot and two new Canadian plays, Taking Shakespeare and The Thrill, along with more than 150 Forum events.

Cast (in alphabetical order)

Iago……………………………………………         Graham Abbey
Understudy……………………………………         Sarah Afful
Ensemble………………………………………         Karl Ang
Bianca…………………………………………         Shauna Black
Montano…………….…………………………         Keith Dinicol
Ensemble………………………………………          Paul Duncan
Ensemble………………………………………          W. Shaw Forgeron
Ensemble………………………………………          Carmen Grant
Emilia…………………………………………          Deborah Hay
Cassio…………………………………………          Brad Hodder
Brabantio………………………………………         Peter Hutt
Desdemona……………………………………         Bethany Jillard
Othello…………………………………………         Dion Johnstone
Ensemble………………………………………         Ruby Joy
Ensemble………………………………………         Josue Laboucane
Gentleman #3………………………………….         Ian Lake
Lodovico………………………………………         Gareth Potter
Senator #1……………….…………………….         Christopher Prentice
Duke of Venice………………………………..         Stephen Russell
Roderigo………………………………………         Mike Shara
Gentleman #1………………………………….         E.B. Smith
Gratiano………………………………………..        Brian Tree
Ensemble………………………………………         Dylan Trowbridge

Artistic Credits

Director…………………………………………        Chris Abraham
Designer………………………………………..        Julie Fox
Lighting Designer………………………………        Michael Walton
Composer and Sound Designer………………..        Thomas Ryder Payne
Dramaturge…………………………………….        Robert Blacker
Fight Director………………………………….        John Stead
Producer……………………………………….         David Auster
Casting Director……………………………….         Beth Russell
Creative Planning Director…………………….        Jason Miller
Associate Fight Director……………………….        Geoff Scovell
Assistant Director………………………………        Andrea Donaldson
Assistant Set Designer…………………………        Devon Bhim
Assistant Costume Designer……………………        Kimberly Catton
Assistant Lighting Designer……………………       Jareth Li
Assistant Fight Director………………………..        Anita Nittoly
Fight Captain…………………………………..        Ian Lake
Stage Manager…………………………………        Anne Murphy
Assistant Stage Managers………………………        Michael Hart, Kristopher Weber
Apprentice Stage Manager…………………….        Kenilee Kehler
Production Assistant…………………………..         Katie Honek
Production Stage Manager…………………….        Julie Miles
Technical Director……………………………..         Elissa Horscroft

-30-

PHOTOGRAPHY:

Promotional photos for Othello:
http://www.stratfordfestival.ca/imagegallery/imagegallery.aspx?id=20300

Headshots:
http://www.stratfordfestival.ca/imagegallery/imagegallery.aspx?id=14315

Advertisements

One thought on “Press Release | Shakespeare’s tragedy Othello begins previews

  1. Pingback: ‘Othello’ begins previews in Stratford | Christopher Prentice

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s