The Public and LAByrinth Theater Co Announce Sunday Speaker Series for OTHELLO, Runs Thru 10/4

The Public and LAByrinth Theater Co Announce Sunday Speaker Series for OTHELLO, Runs Thru 10/4

The Public Theater (Artistic Director Oskar Eustis; Executive Director Andrew D. Hamingson) and LAByrinth Theater Company will present a FREE discussion series tied to its current production of OTHELLO running through Sunday, October 4 the NYU Skirball Center. Prior to the Sunday matinee performances, Director Peter Sellars and The Public Theater will gather prominent artists, academics, activists, and community leaders to introduce, discuss and contextualize this production. Admission is FREE and the series is open to the general public.

The discussion series will take place on the OTHELLO stage at the NYU Skirball Center (566 LaGuardia Place) on September 20, 27, and October 4, from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. The lobby opens at 2:15 PM and it is first come, first served.

The discussion on Sunday, September 20 will be "‘The Divine Desdemona': Women as Pillars of Our Communities," featuring panelists Anuradha K. Bhagwati, a Marine Corps veteran and Executive Director of Service Women's Action Network; Meghan Rhoad, Women's Rights Division, Human Rights Watch; and Robin Morgan, award winning author and founder of the Sisterhood Is Global Institute.

The discussion on Sunday, September 27 will be "‘Haply for I Am Black': Reclaiming Othello From Its Controversial Production History," featuring panelists Harry Elam, Professor of Drama, Stanford University; and Ayanna Thompson, Professor of English, Arizona State University.

The final discussion on Sunday, October 4 will be "‘Is It Possible?': Othello in the Age of Obama," featuring panelists Luis Argueta, documentary filmmaker; Mary Schmidt Campbell, Dean of Tisch School of the Arts; Majora Carter, founder of Sustainable South Bronx; and Carmen Peláez, playwright and actress (Rum & Coke).

All three discussions will be moderated by Dr. Avery T. Willis, who has collaborated with Peter Sellars as an assistant director and dramaturg since 2006.

"OTHELLO is the most famous piece of art in Western culture depicting a black man in a leadership position. In the age of Obama, this play needs to yield new meanings," said Director Peter Sellars. "These conversations will create a very different listening space for the Shakespearean text and offer an opportunity to deepen the national debate about race and gender."

The complete cast for OTHELLO, which officially opens on Sunday, September 27, features Julian Acosta as Roderigo; Gaius Charles as Duke of Venice; Jessica Chastain as Desdemona; Liza Colon-Zayas as Emilia; Saidah Arrika Ekulona as Bianca Montano; Philip Seymour Hoffman as Iago; LeRoy McClain as Cassio; and John Ortiz as Othello.

LUIS ARGUETA (documentary filmmaker): Critically acclaimed director of The Silence of Neto, Luis Argueta, along with co-producer Vivian Rivas, are in the post-production stage of abUSed - The Postville Raid, the full-length documentary that tells the story of the most brutal, most expensive, and one of the largest Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids in the history of the United States. By weaving together the personal stories of the individuals, the families, and the town directly affected by the events of May 12, 2008, the film presents the human face of the issue of immigration reform and serves as a cautionary tale against abuses of constitutional human rights. In addition to the film, abUSed - The Postville Raid Archives is an audio-visual collection of the interviews recorded in the making of the documentary that will serve as the collective memory of a paradigmatic event on the quest for humane and comprehensive immigration reform in the United States.

ANURADHA K. BHAGWATI (Executive Director of Service Women's Action Network). Anu is the Executive Director of Service Women's Action Network (SWAN), a national non-profit human rights organization devoted to meeting the needs of servicewomen and women veterans, based out of New York City. Anu is a Marine Corps veteran who left the service at the rank of Captain in 2004. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from Yale University and a Masters of Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government, where she focused on international human rights policy and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Anu founded and teaches a free weekly yoga class to veterans of all eras and ages in New York City. She is also a writer. Anu has spoken to countless audiences on the challenges faced by military women, including Military Sexual Trauma (sexual harassment, assault and rape), Domestic Violence, discrimination on the basis of gender and race, the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, the VA health care and benefits system, and homelessness among women veterans.

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