LOUISVILLE, Ky. – “Othello” is one of playwright William Shakespeare’s most recognized dramas, but the upcoming production at the University of Louisville will feature a cultural twist on the tragedy of the Moor of Venice.
The UofL Department of Theatre Arts will present “Othello” Feb. 4-8 at The Playhouse, 1911 S. Fourth St. Directed by assistant professor Daniel R. Hill, the production stars graduate student Shaleen Cholera as Othello.
“This play has been produced for more than 400 years and these themes of power, greed, racism and the manipulation behind it are just as prevalent today,” Hill said. The tragic tale of Othello as general, his new bride, his traitorous friend and his fellow officers and kinsmen will stick to its traditional roots in the UofL production, but the actors stray from typical casting.
“What we’re trying to do is look at it from a slightly different lens,” Hill said. “What would it look like if Othello’s army was representative of the diversity of America’s army today, with diverse cultures in higher ranks like general?”
Cholera, who is of Indian and Malawian descent, provided a unique appearance for Othello, a character who is often portrayed as black while the rest of the cast is portrayed by white actors. He also brought a strong background in dramatic theater after performing with Tennessee Shakespeare Company before his time at UofL.
“Our casting for this show celebrates the diversity of our program and updates the look of the typical American production of Othello to represent many people and many races,” Hill said.
Performances are 8 p.m., Feb. 4-8 with a matinee 3 p.m., Feb. 8. Tickets are $15 for the general public and $12 for students. To order tickets or for more information, call the box office at (502) 852-6814 or visit www.louisville.edu/theatrearts.
NOTE TO EDITORS: Please visit the UofL Theatre Arts YouTube channel to see a trailer for the production. Photo attached features UofL theatre students, from left, Megan Kubac as Desdemona, Travis Stolp as Iago and Shaleen Cholera as Othello.