With all due reverence to Shakespeare, there is a better piece of theater to be discovered here, and any number of better ways to give the work, the worker and the product the justice they deserve.
A Search for the Untold Story of “The Moor of Venice.”
Why was he “The Moor of Venice” anyway? Was that what the Venetians called him? Was it a title of honor…or a slur? And how did it make him feel? What would it make him think…or do?
Untitled Othello is an adventure in theater-making that aspires to center the African-descended hero in the play of William Shakespeare’s that bears his name…or is it his name?
This exercise in creative justice, employing ensemble-based creative practices engaged in deep and sustained exploration of Shakespeare’s text, will seek to provide dimension to the title character of Shakespeare’s play by providing dimension to all of the characters that people the world wherein his story unfolds, thus revealing a plausible black hero’s journey that Shakespeare left us too few and also perhaps too many words to illustrate.
Midnight Oil Collective is a Venture Studio that invests in creative-economy-based businesses and assets that are validated through our incubator and accelerator. MOC recognizes that artists lacking agency in producing their own work is the greatest market inefficiency in the arts and entertainment industry, and we are committed to providing the tools and resources for creators to act as their own producers. We help artists and creators build ventures that will create a world in which new, thoughtful, innovative content is always being produced, while working toward our vision of liberated creators liberating creation.
Keith Hamilton Cobb (Director) is an actor drawn mostly to the stage in his working life, but is also recognized for several unique character portrayals he has created for television. He is a graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts with a BFA in acting. His award-winning play, American Moor (published by Methuen Drama), which explores the perspective of the African American male through the metaphor of Shakespeare’s Othello, ran off-Broadway at Cherry Lane Theatre in the fall of 2019. It is the winner of an Elliot Norton Award, an AUDELCO Award, two IRNE Awards, and is part of the permanent collection of the Folger Shakespeare Library.
Jessica Burr (Artistic Director: Blessed Unrest, Associate Director: Untitled Othello) has been honored with the 2019 Kennedy Center ACTF Commendation for Distinguished Leadership, First Prize at the 2016 Secondo Festival (Switzerland), the 2011 LPTW Lucille Lortel Award, and NY Innovative Theatre Awards including: Outstanding Production, Choreography/Movement, and Caffe Cino Fellowship Award among eight total nominations. She was a featured panelist in the 2016 Brave Summit, a forum of women leaders, experts, and scholars to drive cultural change. The founding artistic director of Blessed Unrest with whom she has directed and choreographed over 20 productions (14 world premieres), she directs, choreographs and teaches at theatres and universities around the world.
David Sterling Brown—a Shakespeare and premodern critical race studies scholar—is Assistant Professor of English at Trinity College (CT). His antiracist research, which centers on pedagogy and on how racial ideologies circulate in and beyond the early modern period, is published or forthcoming in numerous peer-reviewed and public venues such as Shakespeare Bulletin, Literature Compass, Radical Teacher, Shakespeare Studies, Hamlet: The State of Play, White People in Shakespeare and Los Angeles Review of Books. His forthcoming book projects, one of which is under contract with Cambridge University Press, examine how whiteness operates in Shakespearean drama. Through his current Mellon/ACLS Scholars and Society Fellowship, Dr. Brown has a residency with The Racial Imaginary Institute, founded by Claudia Rankine. A member of Phi Beta Kappa, Brown sits on the editorial boards of Shakespeare Bulletin and Shakespeare Survey; and he is an executive board member of the Race Before Race conference series. www.DavidSterlingBrown.com
Blessed Unrest is in its 20th season of generating original theatre in NYC and touring internationally. They create safe environments where dangerous things can happen, producing dynamic, disciplined, and exuberant new works for the stage with their culturally diverse ensemble. They teach their approach to physical and devised theatre at universities across the country. Among their awards are four New York Innovative Theatre Awards (twelve nominations) including the Cino Fellowship for Sustained Excellence, the LPTW Lucille Lortel Award, and first prize at the 2016 Secondo Theatre Festival (Switzerland). The company’s work has been praised for “magnetism and electricity” (TimeOut NY) and “physical ingenuity and visual artistry.”
As the second-largest independent Catholic university in New England, and one of the fastest-growing in the U.S., Sacred Heart University is a national leader in shaping higher education for the 21st century. SHU offers nearly 90 undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and certificate programs on its Fairfield, Conn., campus. Sacred Heart stands out from other Catholic institutions as it was established and led by laity. The contemporary Catholic university is rooted in the rich Catholic intellectual tradition and the liberal arts, and at the same time cultivates students to be forward thinkers who enact change—in their own lives, professions and in their communities. Sacred Heart is home to the award-winning, NPR-affiliated radio station, WSHU, a Division I athletics program and an impressive performing arts program that includes choir, band, dance and theatre.
Play On Shakespeare is a non-profit company promoting and creating contemporary modern translations of Shakespeare’s plays. Play On partners with artists and organizations across the globe to deliver and advocate for these translations through different channels, including theatrical productions, podcasts, publications, and film.
Play On Shakespeare is made possible through generous support of the Hitz Foundation.