The Public Theater Presents "Is It Possible: OTHELLO In The Age Of Obama' Discussion 10/4

The Public Theater (Artistic Director Oskar Eustis; Executive Director Andrew D. Hamingson) and LAByrinth Theater Company will present a FREE discussion before the final performance of OTHELLO on Sunday, October 4. Director Peter Sellars and The Public Theater have gathered 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 will take place on the OTHELLO stage at the NYU Skirball Center (566 LaGuardia Place) on Sunday, October 4, from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. The topic 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).

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

The complete cast for OTHELLO 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.

MARY SCHMIDT CAMPBELL (Dean of the Tisch School of the Arts, Chair and Professor, Art and Public Policy) has been dean of New York University's Tisch School of the Arts since 1991. Dean Campbell holds a B.A. degree in English literature from Swarthmore College, an M.A. in art history from Syracuse University, and a Ph.D. in humanities, also from Syracuse. She is co-author of Harlem Renaissance: Art of Black America (New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1987) and Memory and Metaphor: The Art of Romare Bearden, 1940-1987 (New York: Oxford University Press & The Studio Museum in Harlem, 1991). She is the co-editor of Artistic Citizenship: A Public Voice for the Arts (New York: Routledge, 2006.) She is currently working on a book on Romare Bearden for Oxford University Press, (2011 expected publication date). She sits on the board of The American Academy in Rome and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. In the fall of 2001 she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She served as chair of the New York State Council on the arts from 2007-2009.

MAJORA CARTER (Founder, Sustainable South Bronx) simultaneously addresses public health, poverty alleviation, and climate change as one of the nation's pioneers in successful green-collar job training and placement systems. She founded Sustainable South Bronx in 2001 to achieve environmental justice through economically sustainable projects informed by community needs. Her work has garnered numerous awards and accolades including a MacArthur "Genius" Fellowship, one of Essence Magazine's 25 Most Influential African-Americans in 2007, and one of the New York Post's Most Influential NYC Women for the past two years. She is a board member of the Wilderness Society, SJF, and CERES; and hosts a special national public radio series called "The Promised Land" ( Her work now includes advising cities, foundations, universities, businesses, and communities around the world on unlocking their green-collar economic potential to benefit everyone as President of the Majora Carter Group, LLC.

CARMEN PELÁEZ (Actress and Playwright) was born in Miami to Cuban parents. Grand-niece to the revered painter, Amelia Peláez and radio star Ernesto Galindo, she continues her family's artistic expression of life's challenges filtered through the Cuban experience in her ferociously comic and moving one-person play, Rum & Coke.

DR. AVERY T. WILLIS (Moderator) has worked with Peter Sellars since 2006 as Assistant Director (Zaide, Vienna Festival Austria, Barbican Theatre London, Lincoln Center, Aix-en-Provence Festival, France), Festival & Artist Coordinator (New Crowned Hope Festival, Vienna), and Dramaturg (Othello, Vienna Festival & K15 Festival Bochum Germany). Recently, she ran the Communications Department at the Clinton Global Initiative (William J. Clinton Foundation). A Marshall Scholar, Avery earned her PhD in Classical Languages and Literature from the University of Oxford. Additional theatrical credits include: Trojan Women (Director, Oxford Playhouse, UK), The Inaugural Oxford Greek Festival (Festival Founder & Artistic Director), The Constant Prince (Producer, international tour of Cairo, Alexandria, London & Oxford), and Hijabi Monologues (Producer, national tour).

OTHELLO began previews on Saturday, September 12 and will run through Sunday, October 4. The performance schedule is Tuesdays through Fridays at 7 pm; Saturdays at 1 pm and 7 pm; and Sundays at 5 pm. OTHELLO is taking place at NYU Skirball Center, 566 LaGuardia Place (at Washington Square South). Single tickets to OTHELLO, priced between $60 and $90, are available at (212) 352-3101 or (866) 811-4111 or online at

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