Othello, the Moor of Venice
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MARIN THEATRE COMPANY PRESENTS
WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE’S OTHELLO, THE MOOR OF VENICE
DIRECTED BY JASSON MINADAKIS,
SEASONED SHAKESPEAREAN DIRECTOR;
FEATURES LOCAL ACTORS
ALDO BILLINGSLEA AND CRAIG MARKER
March 29 – April 22, 2012 | Opening Night: April 3
MILL VALLEY, CA—Marin Theatre Company presents William Shakespeare’s Othello, the Moor of Venice from March 29 to April 22. MTC’s Artistic Director Jasson Minadakis, who previously served as the producing artistic director of Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival and has directed 19 Shakespeare productions, directs this timeless, tragic tale of love, deceit, jealousy and murder. Opening night is on Tuesday, April 3.
“After our production of Bill Cain’s Equivocation,” said Minadakis, “I was amazed at the number of our patrons who contacted me to say that they very much wanted to see a Shakespeare play at MTC. It just so happened that actor Aldo Billingslea and I had been eager to collaborate on Shakespeare’s tragedy Othello since we first met in 2006. One of the things that we both agreed on was that we’d wait until we found an actor to play Iago that complimented Aldo’s Moor. Over the past year, it became clear to me that Craig Marker was that actor. I’m thrilled to work with these two very talented local actors.”
“Some of the greatest poetry Shakespeare ever wrote” (Chicago Tribune), Othello, the Moor of Venice traces the tragic downfall of Othello, a Moor and a mercenary who became general of the Venetian armies during the time of the Italian Renaissance. He angers Iago, one of his high ranking soldiers, when he passes him over for promotion in favor of the untested gentleman soldier Michael Cassio. In his jealousy, Iago seeks an opportunity to ruin both men and finds it when they are all sent to Cyprus to defend the strategically located island against the Ottoman Empire.
The first recorded performance of “The Moor of Venice” was in 1604 at the Banqueting House of the Palace of Whitehall in Westminster (central London). Written by William Shakespeare sometime between 1601 and 1604, the play was performed by the King’s Men playing company, of which King James I was patron and Shakespeare was co-owner, playwright in residence and a company actor. Shakespeare likely adapted Othello from the tale “Un Capitano Moro” that appeared in the 1565 collection Gli Hecatommithi by Cinthio, pseudonym of the Italian writer Giovanni Battista Giraldi. With exclusive rights to Shakespeare’s plays, the King’s Men performed Othello frequently at both their venues – Blackfriars Theatre in south-west London and Globe Theatre in central London – during Shakespeare’s lifetime and after his death in 1616 until the company was dissolved in the 1640s when Parliament forced theaters to close during the English Civil War. The script of “Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice” was first published posthumously in 1622. In 1623, the play appeared as part of the first collection of Shakespeare’s works, Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies, better known as the First Folio. Othello is a rare example of a dramatic work by Shakespeare that remained popular in performance during the latter half of the 17th century and the 18th century and, thus, avoided adaptation and rewrites.
The role of Othello has long been a coveted role for actors and has been famously played by Ira Aldridge (first black actor in the role in UK, 1833), Paul Robeson (first black actor in the role in US, 1943), Orson Welles, James Earl Jones, William Marshall, Laurence Olivier, Avery Brooks, Anthony Hopkins, Michael Gambon, Laurence Fishburne (first black actor in the role on film, 1995), Patrick Stewart, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Lenny Henry. MTC’s production features veteran Bay Area actor Aldo Billingslea in the role of Othello, which he previously portrayed in Marin Shakespeare Company’s 2004 production. Billingslea has appeared at MTC in the West Coast premiere In the Red and Brown Water, the world premiere of Splittin’ the Raft and The Hairy Ape. He has also acted with numerous Shakespeare festivals across the country including seven seasons with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Billingslea is an associate professor in Santa Clara University’s Theatre Department, where he teaches Shakespearean acting among other courses.
To play the role of Iago, Craig Marker returns to MTC, where has been seen in The Glass Menagerie, the world premieres of Seagull and 9 Circles and the Bay Area premiere of Equivocation. He has appeared in numerous Shakespeare productions in the Bay Area, including Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet at Cal Shakes, As You Like It at San Jose Rep, Macbeth at Shotgun Players and Cymbeline and Love’s Labour’s Lost at San Francisco Shakespeare Festival.
MTC’s production of Othello, the Moor of Venice is directed by Minadakis, who won the 2010 San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award for Director (Equivocation) and is nominated in the same category for the 2011 awards (The Glass Menagerie). He was a co-founder of the Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival, where he served as the producing artistic director for eight years. He has directed 19 Shakespeare productions.
Othello also features returning Bay Area actors Nicholas Pelczar (The Glass Menagerie, boom) as Rodorigo and Liz Sklar (Bellwether, Seagull) as Aemilia. New York-based actor Khris Lewin, who recently appeared at MTC in the West Coast premiere of A Steady Rain, returns in the roles of Montano, Lodovico and the Duke of Venice. Bay Area actors Rinabeth Apostol and Patrick Russell and New York-based actor (but Bay Area native) Mairin Lee make their debuts at MTC. Veteran Bay Area actor and Cal Shakes associate artist Dan Hiatt, who has appeared in nine MTC productions (including 1988’s Noises Off, which transferred to the Marines Memorial Theatre for a 10-month run), returns to MTC for the first time since 2004.
FACTS & CALENDAR INFORMATION
Marin Theatre Company presents OTHELLO, THE MOOR OF VENICE
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Jasson Minadakis
Featuring Rinabeth Apostol,* Aldo Billingslea,* Dan Hiatt,* Mairin Lee,* Khris Lewin,* Craig Marker,* Nicholas Pelczar,* Patrick Russell* and Liz Sklar*
* Member, Actor’s Equity Association
March 29 – April 22, 2012
Opening Night: Tuesday, April 3
Previews: Thursday, March 29 - Sunday, April 1
Tue, Thu, Fri & Sat 8:00 pm
Wed 7:30 pm
Sun 7:00 pm
Matinees: Every Sun 2:00 pm | Sat 4/7 & 4/21, 2:00 pm | Thu 4/12, 1:00 pm
Check marintheatre.org or call the box office at (415) 388-5208 for exact performance dates and times.
Marin Theatre Company | 397 Miller Avenue, Mill Valley, CA 94941
The mercenary Moor Othello, general of the Venetian armies, has married Desdemona, daughter of a powerful senator. But the villain Iago conspires to poison the couple’s delight, because he is jealous for having been passed over for promotion by Othello in favor of the untested Michael Cassio. He will stop at nothing until he uses Desdemona to destroy the two men he hates. Experience Shakespeare at his most taut and tense as we pit two of the best actors in the Bay Area against each other in psychological single combat. Don’t miss Aldo Billingslea as Othello and Craig Marker as Iago on our intimate stage.
$34–$55, details below (discounts available for Seniors and those Under 30)
Previews: $34 all
Opening Night & Sat Evenings: $50 side | $55 center
Tues: $34 | $38
Wed, Thu, Sun Evenings & Matinees: $39 | $44
Fri: $45 | $50
RUSH tickets: $15, available one hour prior to show, based on availability
Under 30: $20, all performances
Senior discounts: varies by performance, please call
For group sales, contact Julie Knight, (415) 388-5200, ext. 3302
“MTC Engaged” invites patrons to join MTC’s artistic staff, designers and casts in conversation. A member of MTC’s artistic staff (often with one or more members of the cast) hosts a Q&A talk back after every performance, except Saturday matinees and evenings, and Opening and Closing Nights.
MTC Engaged Special Events:
• After Words – post-show interview with special guest: Sun 4/1, 2:00 p.m.
• Director’s Night – post-show conversation with director: Wed 4/4 & 4/18
• Perspectives – pre-show topical lecture: Thu 4/12, 12:00 p.m.
“MTC All Access” strives to make theater accessible to all audiences. For visually impaired patrons, Large Print playbills are available at the box office at all performances, Digital playbills that are compatible with screen reader software are available online starting one week before the first performance of a production, and Braille playbills are available with two-weeks advance notice through partnership with LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired. To request a Braille playbill, call MTC’s Box Office, (415) 388-5208, or use the California Telecommunications Relay Service by dialing “711.” For hearing impaired patrons, amplified sound Listening Devices are available.
www.marintheatre.org | (415) 388-5208 | email@example.com
William Shakespeare (playwright) is the single most influential writer in the English language and his dramatic works, translated into all living languages, are the most performed in the world. MTC previously staged his A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 1978. Shakespeare is best known for his plays Hamlet, Prince of Denmark (1600-01), Romeo and Juliet (1594-95), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1595-96), The Tragedy of Macbeth (1605-06), The Taming of the Shrew (1593-94) and Othello, the Moor of Venice (1604-05). Other works for stage include comedies The Tempest (1611-12), Twelfth Night; or, What You Will (1599-1600), The Winter’s Tale (1623) and Much Ado About Nothing (1598-99); tragedies King Lear (1605-06), The Tragedy of Julius Caesar (1599-1600), Antony and Cleopatra (1606-07) and Titus Andronicus (1593-94); and histories The Life of Henry V (1598-99), The Tragedy of Richard III (1592-93) and Henry IV Parts I and II (1597-98). Shakespeare was also a poet, publishing narrative poems and sonnets, an actor and part owner of a London-based playing company that was known, depending on its patron, as the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, the Lord Hunsdon’s Men and the King’s Men. In 1603, the king of England James I honored Shakespeare and the other actors of the King’s Men by naming them Grooms of the Chamber, recognizing them as his court’s favorite performers. During his lifetime (1564–1616), Shakespeare was respected as one of the top playwrights working in England, but his reputation did not rise to its present pinnacle until the 19th century. Now canonized, his work is subject to constant performance, scholarship, adaptation and reinterpretation.
Jasson Minadakis (Director) is in his sixth season as artistic director of MTC. He recently directed The Glass Menagerie at MTC. In previous seasons, he directed Edward Albee’s Tiny Alice, the world premiere of Seagull, Happy Now?, Equivocation (2010 Bay Area Critics Circle Award for Director), the world premiere of Sunlight, Lydia, The Seafarer, Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, A Streetcar Named Desire, said Saïd, Love Song and The Subject Tonight is Love. As artistic director of Actor’s Express Theatre Company, he directed The Pillowman, Bug, The Love Song of J. Robert Oppenheimer, Echoes of Another Man, Killer Joe, Burn This, The Goat or, Who is Sylvia?, Blue/Orange and Bel Canto. As producing artistic director of Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival, he directed Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train, Chagrin Falls (2002 Cincinnati Entertainment Award for Best Production), The Beard of Avon, Arcadia, Nocturne, Fuddy Meers, Lovers & Executioners, Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol, Betrayal, The Weir, Waiting for Godot, The Misanthrope, A Chance of Lightning, The Three Musketeers, Dracula, The Color Wheel and 19 productions of Shakespeare. Regional credits include Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Hamlet at Georgia Shakespeare, Copenhagen at Playhouse on the Square (2003 Ostrander Theatre Award for Best Dramatic Production) and Bedroom Farce at Wayside Theatre. In 2004, The Atlanta Journal Constitution, Creative Loafing and Southern Voice named him best director of the year.
Rinabeth Apostol (Bianca; Venetian soldier) makes her MTC debut in Othello, the Moor of Venice. She recently appeared in Aliens With Extraordinary Skills at B Street Theatre in Sacramento, Of Mice and Men with San Jose Rep on Tour, Avenue Q with San Jose Stage Company and the 2011 Best of PlayGround Festival. Other Bay Area credits include the world premiere of The Kite Runner at San Jose Rep, as well as work with Magic Theatre, TheatreWorks, Precarious Theatre/Brava! for Women in the Arts, Ferocious Lotus and StirFry Theatre. Her regional credits include productions with Arizona Theatre Company, East West Players in Los Angeles and New York University’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts. Her television and film work includes Nickelodeon’s Just For Kicks, Our Chart/Showtime’s Girltrash!, New Line Cinema’s Alpha Dog and numerous independent films. She is a 1stACT Silicon Valley Multicultural Arts Leadership Initiative 2012 Fellow, Emerging Artist Fellow with the Kevin Spacey Foundation and a PlayGround company member in residence at Berkeley Rep.
Aldo Billingslea (Othello) has appeared at MTC in the West Coast premiere of In the Red and Brown Water, the world premiere of Splittin’ the Raft and The Hairy Ape. His Bay Area credits include ...and Jesus Moonwalks the Mississippi at the Cutting Ball Theater, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Coriolanus at Shakespeare Santa Cruz and The Elephant Man and Radio Golf at TheatreWorks, as well as appearances at A.C.T., Magic Theatre, Z Space, Playwrights Foundation, Center REP, the Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, Marin Shakespeare Festival, PlayGround, Renegade Theatre Experiment and Marin Shakespeare Festival. His regional credits include The Rant at InterAct Theatre in Philadelphia and productions at Portland Center Stage, the Old Globe Theatre, Utah Shakespearean Festival, Illinois Shakespeare Festival, the Shakespeare Festival of Dallas and seven seasons with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland. Billingslea is an associate professor in Santa Clara University’s Theatre Department, a PlayGround company member and on the board of Renegade Theatre Experiment.
Dan Hiatt (Brabantio; Cypriate soldier 2) has appeared at MTC in Noises Off, The Real Thing, Born Yesterday, Glengarry Glen Ross, Lips Together, Teeth Apart, The Middle Ages, Room Service, Communicating Doors and Life x 3. He was recently in The Pitmen Painters at TheatreWorks, where he also appeared in The 39 Steps and Twentieth Century. His other Bay Area credits include Round and Round the Garden, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, The Cherry Orchard, Happy End and The Matchmaker at A.C.T.; Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, Dinner with Friends and Menocchio at Berkeley Rep; A Flea in Her Ear, Enchanted April, This Wonderful Life and Sylvia at San Jose Rep; Nicholas Nickleby, Titus Andronicus, The Pastures of Heaven, Much Ado About Nothing, King John, Uncle Vanya and many others at Cal Shakes. His regional theater credits include performances at Seattle Rep, Arizona Theatre Company, the Huntington Theatre, Pasadena Playhouse, Ford’s Theatre, Studio Arena Theatre and the Idaho Shakespeare Festival.
Mairin Lee (Desdemona) makes her MTC debut in Othello, the Moor of Venice. Her Bay Area credits include Phèdre and A Christmas Carol at A.C.T., The Lion in Winter at Shakespeare Santa Cruz, Pericles at Cal Shakes and the world premiere of The Farm with Shotgun Players. Regionally, she has appeared in Pride and Prejudice and Hamlet at Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, In the Next Room (or the vibrator play) at the Wilma Theater and Dracula at Alabama Shakespeare Festival. She has appeared on television in The Good Wife. She is a graduate of A.C.T.’s MFA program, where her favorite credits include O Lovely Glowworm, Her Naked Skin and The Debutante.
Khris Lewin (Montano; Lodovico; Duke of Venice) recently appeared at MTC in the West Coast premiere of A Steady Rain. His work in New York includes the Drama Desk-nominated Fêtes de la Nuit by Charles Mee at the Ohio Theatre, Deb Margolin’s Time Is the Mercy of Eternity at the West End Theatre, Talking to Terrorists at Culture Project, Private Life of the Master Race at Walkerspace, a trapeze version of Richard II at the Tank and appearances at Symphony Space on NPR’s Selected Shorts and Bloomsday on Broadway. Other recent work includes the revival of My One and Only at the Goodspeed Opera House, The Music Man at the Ogunquit Playhouse and the title role in Macbeth at Nebraska Shakespeare. Lewin’s film work includes The Eyes Have It, Isn’t She and Jim Cramer on CBS’s WallStrip. He has a BA from Duke University and an MFA from the National Theatre Conservatory.
Craig Marker (Iago) has appeared at MTC in The Glass Menagerie, the world premieres of Seagull and 9 Circles, the Bay Area premiere of Equivocation and Bus Stop. He was recently in Arms and the Man at Center REP, where he also appeared in The Mousetrap and The Marriage of Figaro. His other Bay Area theater credits include The Circle and Curse of the Starving Class at A.C.T.; Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet at Cal Shakes; As You Like It, The Foreigner, Iphigenia at Aulis and The Intelligent Design of Jenny Chow at San Jose Rep; Macbeth at Shotgun Players; Third, Theophilus North, Brooklyn Boy, Dolly West’s Kitchen and Shakespeare in Hollywood at TheatreWorks; Wirehead, First Person Shooter and The Story at SF Playhouse; Cymbeline and Love’s Labour’s Lost at San Francisco Shakespeare Festival; and The Shape of Things and The Persians at Aurora Theatre Company. Marker appeared in David Edgar’s Continental Divide at Berkeley Rep, Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Barbican Theatre (UK) and La Jolla Playhouse.
Nicholas Pelczar (Rodorigo) has appeared at MTC in The Glass Menagerie and the Bay Area premiere of boom. He was recently in The Pitmen Painters at TheatreWorks. His other Bay Area credits include War Music, Rock ‘n’ Roll and A Christmas Carol at A.C.T.; Much Ado About Nothing, Macbeth, The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, Othello, Titus Andronicus, Taming of the Shrew, All’s Well That Ends Well and The Importance of Being Earnest at Cal Shakes; 4 Adverbs with Word for Word; Hamlet and As You Like It at Pacific Repertory Theatre; A Midsummer Night’s Dream at San Francisco Shakespeare Festival; and Marius and Dublin Carol at Aurora Theatre Company. He is a graduate of the A.C.T. MFA acting program.
Patrick Russell (Cassio) makes his MTC debut in Othello, the Moor of Venice. He was recently in Body Awareness at Aurora Theatre Company, where he also appeared in Trouble in Mind and Awake and Sing!. His other Bay Area credits include Once in a Lifetime and A Christmas Carol at A.C.T. and Care of Trees with Shotgun Players. He is in the upcoming feature film Us. Russell is a graduate of A.C.T.’s MFA program, where he appeared in Philistines, Good Breeding, Little Shop of Horrors, Romeo and Juliet, Ubu Roi, The Lady from the Sea and Our Lady of 121st Street. He earned a BFA from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he appeared in Translations, Pentecost and The Lesson. He serves on the faculty of the A.C.T. Conservatory’s Young Conservatory and Studio A.C.T. programs.
Liz Sklar (Aemilia; Venetian senator) has appeared at MTC in the world premieres of Bellwether and Seagull and is currently an MTC teacher in residence at Martin Luther King Junior Academy in Marin City (funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts’ Shakespeare in American Communities program). She recently appeared in Becky Shaw at SF Playhouse. Her other Bay Area credits include Care of Trees at Shotgun Players, A Christmas Carol at A.C.T., The Tempest at Cal Shakes, The Winter’s Tale at Marin Shakespeare Company and The Foreigner at Ross Valley Players. In New York, she most recently played Lady Macbeth in Macbeth at Mortal Folly Theatre. Other regional credits include Philistines, The Lady from the Sea, The Servant of Two Masters, Village Wooing, Little Shop of Horrors, Good Breeding and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. She co-starred with Stacy Keach in Imbued, now touring film festivals worldwide. Sklar holds a BA in Theater Arts from Brown University, an MFA in Acting from A.C.T. and has been training with the SITI Company in New York.
Celebrating our 45th Anniversary this season, Marin Theatre Company is the Bay Area’s premier mid-sized theater and the leading professional theater in the North Bay. We produce a six-show season of provocative plays by passionate playwrights in our intimate 231-seat proscenium theater. We are committed to the development and production of new plays by American playwrights, with a comprehensive New Play Program that includes at least one premiere each season, two nationally recognized annual playwriting awards, new play readings and workshops by the nation’s best emerging playwrights and a leadership position in the National New Play Network. Our numerous educational programs serve more than 6,000 students each year.
Sasha Hnatkovich, Communications Director
(415) 388-5200, ext. 3313 | email
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