Invictus Theatre, a new theater company with a mission to create theatre that promotes a better understanding of the poetry, rhythm, and resonance of language and its ability to express the breadth of the human condition, is pleased to announce its first production, Othello: the Moor of Venice. A bold production of Shakespeare’s tragic tale of love, lust, jealousy and ruthless vengeance, the play will open at the Heartland Studio Theatre in Chicago in November.
Othello’s themes of racism and sexism continue to resonate, particularly in today’s social and political climate. The play chronicles the downfall of Othello, a Moorish general of the Venetian armies who is married to Desdemona, the daughter of a powerful senator. When Othello promotes Michael Cassio over Othello’s ensign Iago, the jealous and enraged Iago weaves a tale that sets out to destroy both men, indifferent to the massive collateral damage wrought by such vengeance.
The power of narrative and language is particularly important to Invictus Theatre, given its mission.
“Michael Cunningham and other authors have said that ‘we become the stories that we tell ourselves’," said Charles Askenaizer, Invictus artistic director. “That surely happens to Othello and we see that played out today in the divisions in this country. Stories have the ability to leave us spellbound—and lead us in directions we might never otherwise go, often defying all logic and reason.”
Directed by Askenaizer with Reginald Vaughn as Othello and Karissa Myers set to play a female Iago, the production will explore the narratives we tell about race and gender, and ultimately ask us to consider the stunning capacity of humans for both unconditional love and tremendous cruelty.
In addition to Vaughn and Myers, the cast includes Jeff Award-winning actress Callie Johnson as Desdemona, Lynne Baker as Emilia, Joseph Beal as Brabantio, Felipe Carrasco as Michael Cassio, Alex Dauphin as Bianca, Martin Diaz-Valdes as Montano, Jake Samson as Lodovico, Diane Sintich as the Duke, and Robert Vignisson as Roderigo. Julia Badger and Nick Savin understudy.
Michael Sheridan will stage-manage the production with fight choreography by Lana Whittington, sets designed by Kevin Rolfs, lighting by Becs Bartle, sound by Donny Walker and Kelly Askam, and costumes by Gary Nocco and Caleb Awe.
Previews are November 8-10 at 7:30 pm; opening November 11 and running through December 3 with performances Mondays, Wednesdays through Saturdays at 7:30 pm and Sunday at 3 pm. (No performances Wednesday, Nov 22 or Thursday, Nov 23). Press opening is Monday, November 13. All performances will be at the Heartland Studio Theatre, 7016 North Glenwood Avenue, Chicago. Purchase tickets at http://invictustheatre.brownpapertickets.com/
Charles Askenaizer (Director) graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Theatre and Communications. He has worked professionally in Chicago as an actor and director for 7 years. Recent directing credits include Titus Andronicus, Julius Caesar, Two Gentlemen of Verona, and a reading of The Difference. Charles has worked with Citadel Theatre, the Artistic Home, City Lit, Raven, Brown Paper Box, (re)Discover Theatre, The Side Project, and many more.
Othello, or The Moor of Venice
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Charles Askenaizer
November 8 - December 3, 2017
Heartland Studio Theatre
7016 N. Glenwood Ave., Chicago
$10 Previews November 8-10
Press opening Monday, November 13 at 7:30 pm.
Performances Mondays, Wednesdays through Saturdays at 7:30 pm, Sundays at 3 pm
(No performances November 22 or 23)
About Invictus Theatre
Invictus (from the Latin, meaning unconquerable, unsubdued, and invincible) brings together actors with deep roots in Chicago, regional and even international theater to harness the power of language to express the breadth of the human condition, promote diversity, engender respect, foster collaboration, and empower communities to share their voices. With its inaugural production of Othello, Invictus has a goal of creating theatre that promotes a better understanding of language through diverse works by diverse artists. www.invictustheatreco.com