A Noise Within (ANW), California’s acclaimed classical repertory theatre, is proud to open its Spring 2019 season with one of the best-known tragic plays of all time, William Shakespeare’s Othello. Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award winner Jessica Kubzansky will direct William Shakespeare’s timeless classic, set in the present day, that will examine the consequences of love thwarted. Othello performs from Feb. 10 through April 28 with previews beginning Feb. 10.
The Bard’s most intimate of family tragedies, Othello is about the terrible force of love and the breakdown of a man who seems to have everything—power, position, and passion—only to find his world decimated by the intense mind games played upon him by his ensign. Prescient in its searing social commentary of prejudice, betrayal, and jealousy, Shakespeare’s thunderous drama explores who we trust and the price we pay for choosing wrong.
Director Jessica Kubzansky notes, that “For me, Othello is a story about the terrible power of love when it is thwarted. For all its broader social and political messages, this play is also a small, deeply personal story about two men who have battled together, have had each other’s backs, and have been brothers through the wars together. It is not until one feels passed over by the other for some well-deserved recognition that a bitter sense of betrayal leads him down a path that turns devotion to destruction.”
She continues, “Othello talks about having loved ‘not wisely but too well,’ and while it may on the surface appear as though he is talking about his wife, Desdemona, he could just as easily be talking about the man he loved and trusted who, in the end, has profoundly betrayed him.”
Kubzansky will transfer the action of this drama to a contemporary political and military setting that is analogous to Renaissance Venice and Cyprus. The production will, however, keep the original and beautiful language of William Shakespeare, illustrating the timelessness of Shakespeare’s themes.
“Because the play has never felt more immediate, I set the play in 2019 within the modern military, which reflects our world today, where there are both a multiplicity of ethnicities and many more women in power roles than there might have been in 1603,” explains Kubzansky.
Jessica Kubzansky’s timely production will speak to audiences today, making the play highly accessible to a global audience and engaging to those who will encounter Othello for the very first time.
Tickets for Othello start at $25 and are available at anoisewithin.org, by phone at 626-356-3121, and at the box office located at 3352 East Foothill Blvd. in Pasadena, Calif.
The cast includes (*Member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States)
Othello: Wayne T. Carr* Iago: Michael Manuel* Desdemona: Angela Gulner* Emilia: Tania Verafield* Roderigo: Jeremy Rabb* Cassio: Brian Henderson* Brabantia: Bonita Friedericy*
Duke of Venice / Bianca: Sally Hughes* Lodovica: Jeanne Sakata* Gratiano: Nic Arnzen* Montano: Adrian Gonzalez Soldier / Ensemble: Harrison Harvey Solider / Ensemble: Dylan La Rocque Soldier / Ensemble: Dylan Wittrock
Jessica Kubzansky will direct. The scenic design by Frederica Nascimento†; costume design by Angela Balogh Calin†; lighting design by Rose Malone; sound design by John Zalewski†; fight choreography by Kenneth R. Merckx, Jr.; Shakespearean scholar and dramaturg is Miranda Johnson-Haddad; assistant director is Margaret Shigeko Starbuck; wig/make-up design by David Iker Sanchez; props master is Erin Walley; dialect coach is Nike Doukas; additional casting by Victoria Hoffman; military consulting by CPT Jack LaZebnik. §The Director is a member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, a national theatrical labor union. †Designer is represented by United Scenic Artists Local USA829 of the IATSE
About the Play
Othello has long been considered one of William Shakespeare’s four greatest tragedies. First performed in 1604, Othello was likely written after Hamlet but before King Lear and Macbeth . Unlike the other three tragedies, however, Othello is what literary critics call a “domestic tragedy,” meaning that the principal characters, though in many cases aristocratic, are nevertheless not royal. As is the case with virtually all of Shakespeare’s plays, the plot of Othello was not invented by Shakespeare; its source is a story written by an Italian author named Giraldi Cinthio, which was published in Venice in 1565. Shakespeare would have read the tale in a French translation or possibly in the original Italian. However, Shakespeare, characteristically changes the focus of the story, rendering it much more complex and nuanced through the power of his own beautiful dramatic language. Of the four major Shakespearean tragedies, Othello is in many respects the most richly poetic; and no character employs more beautiful language than Othello himself, the so-called “Moor of Venice.”
2018-2019 Season – Let Me In
“All of our 2018-19 offerings feature characters who are outliers – people who have blazed their own trail but nevertheless struggle for acknowledgement and acceptance,” says Geoff Elliott. “Let Me In isn’t about a physical space, it’s about the deeply human passion to be understood for who we are.”
Othello will perform in repertory with The Glass Menagerie , the haunting memory play that made Tennessee Williams a household name (directed by Geoff Elliott; Feb. 24 to April 26), and Mary Zimmerman’s retelling of the classic Greek myth of The Voyage of Jason and the Argonauts in Argonautika (directed by Julia Rodriguez-Elliott; March 20 – May 5, 2019). Following the spring 2019 repertory season, the popular and acclaimed ANW production of Noises Off (directed by Julia Rodriguez-Elliott & Geoff Elliott; May 21 – June 9, 2019) returns. KCET is a media sponsor for A Noise Within’s 2018-19 Season. A Noise Within’s repertory theatre season is presented by the S. Mark Taper Foundation.
Julia Rodriguez-Elliott says, “Whether they’re in self-exile ( The Glass Menagerie ), or shunned ( Othello ), or led astray by hedonistic desires ( A Picture of Dorian Gray ), or thrust there by the fickle cruelty of fate ( Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead ) or the gods ( Argonautika ), all of these characters on the margins of society are fascinating and deeply resonant with anyone who has ever felt left out.”