Third Annual El Barrio's Shakespeare Festival Begins This Week
The Shakespeare Forum, a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating empowered communities through education and performance, announces the 2019 El Barrio's Shakespeare Festival. The three-week festival will present professional and student performances and seeks to help foster the actors and audiences of tomorrow. El Barrio's Shakespeare Festival will kick off on May 30 with the premiere of Othello[s], directed by The Shakespeare Forum's Executive Director, Sybille Bruun-Moss. The festival will also feature free student performances by young actors from across New York City. The Shakespeare Forum has trained each of the young performers through the organization's various education programs. All performances will be presented at El Barrio's Artspace PS109.
"The Shakespeare Forum and El Barrio's Artspace PS109 provide an artistic and literal home for current and future generations of artists and actors," said Tyler Moss, Artistic Director of The Shakespeare Forum. "This festival is a celebration of voices and how we can give words life and truth."
Following The Shakespeare Forum's acclaimed productions of Henry V in 2016, Titus in 2017, and Lear in 2018, Othello[s] continues the organization's investigation of how to create immediate and relevant theatre that reflects contemporary topics impacting modern audiences. In this production, we explore the power of perspective - noting how our perceptions of familiar events change when we see them from different points of view. In this production, four versions of the play Othello are performed, as experienced through the lenses of Rodrigo, Desdemona, Iago and Emilia, and Othello. As we view the same world through these different eyes, we not only unravel the idea of a single, objective truth, we also understand the dissonance felt when our experiences feel disconnected from those of the people around us. Thematically, this production reflects how a wide variety of points of view are causing contemporary familial, political, and emotional divides.
"Seeing through the eyes of others is hard - it requires empathy, kindness, and a willingness to be wrong" remarks Bruun-Moss. "It is my hope to engage the audience in a silent dialogue about perceptions of victimhood, villainy, and the act of being a bystander. In the words of Marcel Proust, 'the real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes,'"
The Othello[s] cast features Amara James Aja*, Kia Nicole Boyer*, Ari Dalbert, Antonio Disla, Alice Kabia, Brian Linden*, Sara Malinowski*, Francis Mateo*, Tyler Moss*, and Miguel Rivera. (*actors appearing courtesy of Actors Equity Association).
During El Barrio's Shakespeare Festival, The Shakespeare Forum is excited to welcome other companies to share their work with the East Harlem community. Shrunken Shakespeare, Nick Mayfield, Turn to Flesh Productions, EMIT Theatre and Hamlet Isn't Dead will all offer performances during the Festival.
Through El Barrio's Shakespeare Festival, The Shakespeare Forum is providing students from each of the organization's education programs with the opportunity to share their work with the public. High school students from Manhattan Center for Science and Mathematics will present Richard III, 6th graders from PS 108 will present The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged (Revised), The Shakespeare Forum's after school program will present a variety of scenes and monologues from Hamlet, and participants of The Shakespeare Forum's Youth Forum will present Richard II.
The Shakespeare forum will host a panel discussion on the nature of education and collaboration intended for school teachers and teaching artists alike.
The Shakespeare Forum will also host Masterclasses with Tracie Morris on voice and with Nathan Winkelstein on auditions, as well free, drop-in workshops on clowning, stage combat, theatre of the oppressed, creating character, improvising verse, and ensemble building. Workshops are subject to change.
Tickets available at www.theshakespeareforum.org