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Shakespeare Theatre Company Presents Othello

Starring Faran Tahir and Directed by Internationally Acclaimed Director Ron Daniels

Washington, D.C. — This February, the Shakespeare Theatre Company presents William Shakespeare’s Othello, helmed by internationally acclaimed director Ron Daniels and featuring stage and screen performer Faran Tahir in the titular role and Jonno Roberts as Iago. Director Ron Daniels, an honorary associate director at the Royal Shakespeare Company, brings his sure hand with Shakespeare to one of the Bard’s greatest tragedies. Othello runs at STC’s Sidney Harman Hall (610 F Street NW) from February 23 through March 27.

Shakespeare Theatre Company continues its 2015–2016 season with Shakespeare’s Othello, the classic tale of jealousy, duplicity, and destruction. Among the exotic airs and mysterious shadows of Cyprus, newly married Moorish general Othello finds himself the pawn in the manipulative games of his right-hand man, Iago. As his imagination is poisoned, Othello turns on his new bride Desdemona and his loyal lieutenant Cassio, and rapidly spirals from hero to villain in one of Shakespeare’s most haunting tragedies.

Ron Daniels, a founding member of the renowned Teatro Oficina in São Paulo and former Artistic Director of The Other Place Theatre, joins STC to direct his first-ever production of Othello after an extensive career directing Shakespeare plays, including two recent productions of Macbeth and Measure for Measure which he co-translated into Portuguese. Daniels’ Othello is the fourth production of the tragedy in STC’s 29-year history, following such notable productions as STC Artistic Director Michael Kahn’s 2005 Othello starring Avery Brooks and Director Jude Kelly’s 1997 Othello starring Sir Patrick Stewart.

“When Ron Daniels came to me and said he wanted to do Othello and that he had a Pakistani-American actor, Faran Tahir, to play Othello, I thought it was an inspired idea,” STC Artistic Director Michael Kahn says. “After all, the part is written as a Moor, and to play Othello as a Muslim in a Christian society interested me greatly. It follows the dictates of Shakespeare’s work completely. Faran is also an accomplished classical actor who has been working lately in television and film, and we have a long history of providing actors of his pedigree with great roles worthy of their talents.”

Setting Othello in the familiar yet historical setting of a post-World War I environment, Daniels hopes to provide audiences with a space where they can engage with the art and the language, but also can feel free, according to Daniels, to “act out the most crucial ideas of our civilization.” Regarding the casting of Pakistani-American actor Faran Tahir, Daniels goes on to explain that, “in our times, especially with the recent intensification of Islamophobia in the United States and Europe, the lines in the text seem inevitably to acquire greater resonance, and Othello’s personal tragedy will resonate with ever greater poignancy and immediacy.”

Farah Tahir, a veteran stage actor, makes his STC debut as Othello. He has appeared in more than 20 films, including Escape Plan, Star Trek, and Iron Man. Playing opposite Tahir as his duplicitous right-hand man is New Zealand actor Jonno Roberts, known for his performances in the Tony Award® winning Broadway show Take Me Out and Tracey Letts’ Bug. Roberts returns to STC, last seen on our stages as Edmund in the 2009 production of King Lear with Stacy Keach.

Othello begins preview performances on February 23, celebrates Opening Night on Monday, February 29, and continues through March 27 at STC’s Sidney Harman Hall (610 F Street NW). To purchase tickets or to learn more, patrons can call the box office at 202.547.1122 or visit ShakespeareTheatre.org.

Othello is sponsored by the Artistic Leadership Fund. Additional Support is provided by Dr. Paul and Mrs. Rose Carter and KPMG LLP.

THE CAST

Faran Tahir, making his STC debut, takes on the role of Othello. Tahir has appeared in 20 films such as Escape Plan (2013), Star Trek (2009), Iron Man (2008), over 75 television roles including American Crime, Supergirl, and Satisfaction, and 50 theatre productions including shows with the Manhattan Theatre Club, Goodman Theatre, American Repertory Theater, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, and many more.

Jonno Roberts, Iago, returns to STC’s stages after his performance in the 2009 production of King Lear. Roberts’ Broadway and Off-Broadway credits include Take Me Out and Bug, and Monster. He has appeared in numerous regional productions across the country at theatres including Kirk Douglas Theatre, The Old Globe, Goodman Theatre, American Repertory Theater, and Intiman Theatre. His television credits include the Netflix series Short Poppies, Bones, and Person of Interest, among others.

Ryman Sneed will appear on STC stages for the first time as Desdemona. Her Broadway and Off-Broadway credits include Skylight and City of Conversation.

The cast also includes recognizable STC artists including Ted van Griethuysen (Duke of Venice), most recently seen at STC as Peter Quince in our Free For All production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Gregory Linington (Montano), last seen on STC stages as Antonio in the 2014–2015 production of The Tempest; and Patrick Vaill (Cassio), who last joined STC in the 2013–2014 productions of Henry IV, Part 1 and Part 2.

Rounding out the company are: Rufus Collins (Brabantio/Lodovico), Natascia Diaz (Bianca),  Ben Diskant (Roderigo), Robbie Gay (Another Senator), Merritt Janson (Emilia), Elan Zafir (A Senator) who recently appeared in Salomé, and David Baker, Stephen Elrod, Jackson Knight Pierce, and Brian Reisman as soldiers.

THE DIRECTOR

Ron Daniels was born and raised in Brazil, where he was a founding member of the renowned Teatro Oficina in São Paulo. He is a former Artistic Director of The Other Place Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company’s experimental theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, England, and after 15 years with the company he was named an Honorary Associate Director of the RSC. From 1991 to 1996 he was the Associate Artistic Director of the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, MA. Memorable productions include Long Day’s Journey Into NightHenry V, and Hamlet. Recently, he directed Charlie Parker’s Yardbird at the Opera Philadelphia, Ricky Ian Gordon’s Morning Star at the Cincinnati Opera, and the hip hop musical Kingdom, about Latino street gangs, at the Old Globe in San Diego. Daniels’ first feature film titled The War Boys had its premiere at the HBO Latino Film Festival in New York in 2009.

THE DESIGNERS

In order to create the world of Othello, Daniels has assembled a talented creative team including Scenic Designer Riccardo Hernandez (STC’s Cymbeline, Twelfth Night, Henry VI, and Much Ado about Nothing), Costume Designer Emily Rebholz, Lighting Designer Christopher Akerlind (STC’s The Tempest, The Winter’s Tale, CymbelineTwelfth NightJulius Caesar, and The Silent Woman), and Sound Designer/Composer Fitz Patton (STC’s Wallenstein, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Strange Interlude).

THE ARTISTIC TEAM

The production team also includes Fight Director Robb Hunter and Assistant Lighting Designer Elizabeth A. Coco. Daniels is supported by Literary Manager Drew Lichtenberg and Voice and Text Coach Gary Logan; and assisted by Production Stage Manager Cynthia Cahill and Assistant Stage Manager Maria Tejada, and Craig Baldwin serves as Daniels’ Assistant Director.

ABOUT THE SHAKESPEARE THEATRE COMPANY

Recipient of the 2012 Regional Theatre Tony Award®, the Shakespeare Theatre Company (STC) is the nation’s leading premier classical theatre company. Today, STC is synonymous with artistic excellence and making classical theatre more accessible to audiences in and around the nation’s capital.

Under the leadership of Artistic Director Michael Kahn and Executive Director Chris Jennings, STC’s innovative productions inspire dialogue that connects classic works to the modern human experience. The Company focuses on works with profound themes, complex characters, and poetic language written by Shakespeare, his contemporaries, and the playwrights he influenced in order to preserve and promote classic theatre—ambitious, enduring plays with universal themes—for all audiences.

A leader in arts education, STC has a stable of initiatives that teach and excite learners of all ages, from school programs and adult acting classes to accessible community programming like play-relevant discussion series and the Free For All. For the past 25 years the Free For All program has offered an annual remount of a popular production completely free of charge to all audience members.

Located in downtown Washington, D.C., STC performs in two theatres, the 451-seat Lansburgh Theatre and the 774-seat Sidney Harman Hall. In addition to STC productions appearing year-round, these spaces also accommodate presentations from outstanding local performing arts groups and nationally renowned organizations. The Company has been a fixture in the vibrant Penn Quarter neighborhood since 1992.

Media Contact:
Michael Porto
202.547.3230 ext. 2315
Press@ShakespeareTheatre.org

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FACT SHEET:
Othello

By William Shakespeare

Directed by Ron Daniels

DATES: February 23–March 27

LOCATION: Sidney Harm Hall, 610 F St NW

TIMES: Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Sundays at 7:30 p.m. (except for Sunday, March 6 and 27); Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m.; Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m. (except for Sunday, February 28).

TICKETS: $20-108

ACCESSIBILITY: Sidney Harman Hall is accessible to persons with disabilities, offering wheelchair-accessible seating and restrooms, audio enhancement, and Braille and large-print programs.

  • An audio-described performance of Othello will be on Saturday, March 19, at 2 p.m.
  • An open-captioned performance of Othello will be on Thursday, March 17, at 8 p.m.
  • A sign-interpreted performance of Othello will be on Tuesday, March 22, at 7:30 p.m.
  • Seating in the audio description section can be reserved by calling the Box Office, 202.547.1122.

PARKING: The LAZ garage is located directly beneath Sidney Harman Hall; enter from E or F Streets between 6th and 7th Streets. E Street is the recommended entry because of events at the Verizon Center. When entering, follow signs directing you to 620 F Street. Elevators will take you to the Winter Garden lobby next door to Sidney Harman Hall on F Street.

METRO: Gallery Pl-Chinatown station on the Red/Green/Yellow lines: Use the Arena/7th Street exit. Sidney Harman Hall is visible one block to your left. Judiciary Square station on the Red line: Use the F Street exit to the National Building Museum, turn left and walk 1.5 blocks along F Street to 6th Street.

Box Office: 202.547.1122 | Toll Free: 877.487.8849 | ShakespeareTheatre.org

Newsroom

Media Relations
If you are a member of the press, please contact us at:

Shakespeare Theatre Company
516 8th Street SE
Washington, DC 20003-2834
Phone: 202.547.3230

Press Contact – Press@ShakespeareTheatre.org

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