Massachusetts' American Repertory Theatre, the resident professional company at Harvard University's Loeb Drama Center, are celebrating their 23rd season in Cambridge. Kicking off their season Nov. 23 was William Shakespeare's Othello. The production that was to end Jan. 17 has been extended to Jan. 27.
The Bard's classic tale tells of the Moor King who is brought to tragedy by the manipulating hand of Iago, and by his own jealousy. Russian director Yuri Yeremin and David Wheeler conceived and directed the A.R.T. presentation.
John Douglas Thompson stars as the title character, Mirjana Jokovic as his wife and Thomas Derrah as the smarmy Iago in the A.R.T. production. The other cast members include Benjamin Evett, Amber Allison, Karen MacDonald, Richard Snee, Will LeBow, Jon Bernthal, Ken Cheeseman, Will LeBow, Ian Collet-Barr, Harry Crane, Philip Graeme and Michael Wheeler.
The design team features scenic design by Riccardo Hernandez, costume design by Catherine Zuber, lighting design by John Ambrosone, sound design by David Remedios. The production also includes original music by Samrat Charabarti.
* Playing in repertory with the season opener, Dec. 7-Jan. 13, was Enrico IV by Luigi Pirandello. When an equestrian mishap causes a rich Italian to think he is a German emperor, his friends and servants play along with his delusion for 20 years. But when his memory begins to return, will he have to keep up the charade? Artistic director Robert Brustein co-directed his new adaptation with Karin Coonrod.
Adam Rapp (whose A.R.T. production of Nocturne reached Off Broadway this season) will enjoy a production of his Stone Cold Dead Serious Feb. 1-March 12 at the A.R.T. The dysfunctional family story of the Ledbetters — a bunch of dropouts, junkies, and QVC addicts — is suddenly thrown askew when their son becomes a finalist in a video game contest. Marcus Stern, who helmed last season's Nocturne reteams with Rapp for this production running through March.
Running in rep with Rapp will be The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade by Peter Weiss. The play, known better by its abbreviated title Marat/Sade, supposes that the Marquis de Sade is helming a production of the death of French revolutionary Jean-Paul Marat in an insane asylum with a cast of sociopaths, schizophrenics, and narcoleptics. Hungarian director János Szász, who helmed last season's Mother Courage, stages this production Feb. 15-March 17.
Robert William Sherwood's Absolution will play at A.R.T.'s 350 seat Hasty Pudding Theatre March 29-April 14. The story of three high school friends who 15 years earlier committed a heinous act and now are faced with their secret resurfacing.
The final project announced for the Loeb mainstage is an adaption of Aristophanes' Lysistrata playing May 10-June 9. Forget about a writers' or actors' strike, in this classic comedy the women of Athens, weary of the years of war with Sparta, unite to withhold sex. Larry Gelbart (book writer for A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum) has retooled the work that features songs by William Bolcom and Arnold Weinstein. Andrei Serban is set to direct the production with A.R.T. founding member Cherry Jones starring.
For tickets to Othello or any of the productions at A.R.T., 64 Brattle Street, just outside Harvard Square in Cambridge, MA, call (617) 547-8300. For more information, visit their website at www.amrep.org.
— by Ernio Hernandez