Public to Host Discussions on Othello in the Modern Age Beginning Sept. 20

News   Public to Host Discussions on Othello in the Modern Age Beginning Sept. 20
The Public Theater production of Peter Sellars' contemporary staging of Othello has announced pre-performance discussions that will be moderated by assistant director and dramaturg Dr. Avery T. Willis at the Skirball Cultural Center.

Academy Award winner Philip Seymour Hoffman and John Ortiz star in the Shakespeare tragedy that began previews Sept. 12 and will officially open Sept. 24. Performances continue through Oct. 4.

"Othello is the most famous piece of art in Western culture depicting a black man in a leadership position. In the age of Obama, this play needs to yield new meanings,” Sellars said in a statement. “These conversations will create a very different listening space for the Shakespearean text and offer an opportunity to deepen the national debate about race and gender.”

Presented Sundays from 3-4 PM on the stage of the Skirball Center, the first of the discussions (on Sept. 20) will be devoted to “‘The Divine Desdemona’: Women as Pillars of Our Communities,” which will feature Anuradha K. Bhagwati (Service Women’s Action Network), Meghan Rhoad (Women’s Rights Division) and Robin Morgan (Sisterhood Is Global Institute).

"'Haply for I Am Black’: Reclaiming Othello From Its Controversial Production History" on Sept. 27 will include Harry Elam (Stanford University professor of drama) and Ayanna Thompson (Arizona State University professor of English).

The final discussion on Oct. 4 will be "'Is It Possible?’: Othello in the Age of Obama,” with documentary filmmaker Luis Argueta, Mary Schmidt (dean of Tisch School of the Arts), Majora Carter (Sustainable South Bronx) and Rum & Coke actress and playwright Carmen Peláez. Admission to the series is free and open to the general public. For tickets to a performance of Othello visit SkirballCenter, or phone (212) 352-3101. The Skirball Center is located at 566 LaGuardia Place at Washington Square South.

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