Aquila Theatre Company returns with 'Othello'

Aquila Theatre Company will return Friday to the Lied Center to perform its interpretation of William Shakespeare's "Othello."

The show, part of the Lied Center's New Directions Series, begins at 7:30 p.m.

"Othello" is the story of a well-traveled Moorish army general whose life is ruined by the betrayal of a trusted friend. Othello's ensign, Iago, enraged at being passed over for promotion and envious of Othello's conquests, uses his position to plant the seeds of jealousy and doubt. Meanwhile, with brilliant Machiavellian duplicity, he advises Desdemona to act in ways that will only fuel her husband's suspicions.

In this psychological character study, only the audience is aware of Iago's villainous plan. He confesses to them throughout the play and they watch, captivated, as he makes "the net that shall enmesh them all."

Since its inception in 1991, Aquila Theatre Company has won both critical and academic acclaim for its work worldwide to change perceptions of classical drama. In "Othello," the troupe finds a unique setting capable of bringing relevance and clarity to the Shakespearean tragedy. An original musical score with an epic and film-like quality intensifies the experience.

The company last visited the Lied Center in April of 2002, when it performed Shakespeare's "The Tempest" and "The Wrath of Achilles," a play based on chapters 16-19 of Homer's Iliad.

This presentation is part of Shakespeare in American Communities, a national theater touring initiative sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts in cooperation with Arts Midwest. Shakespeare in American Communities is a 50-state, 100-community tour of Shakespeare's plays by six of the nation's finest theater companies.

The performance is also part of Shakespeare All Year, a yearlong collaborative effort in 2003-2004 by The Lied Center of Kansas, Heart of America Shakespeare Festival, Coterie Theater, Kansas City Symphony, Lyric Opera of Kansas City and UMKC Theatre to celebrate the genius of William Shakespeare. These arts producers will stage programs and special activities for all ages that are designed to showcase the talent and enduring popularity of the Bard.

In addition to the performance, Aquila will conduct the following educational residencies:

  • "Physical Theatre," master class with Kansas University theater students, 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. Thursday, 209 Murphy Hall.
  • "The Artist in the Community," a conversation with KU theater and other students, 12:30 p.m.-1:20 p.m. Friday, 201 Murphy Hall.
  • Pre-performance lecture by a company member, 6:30 p.m.-7 p.m. Friday, Oldfather Dance Studio, Lied Center.
  • Post-performance artists' talkback from the stage with company members, approximately 10:15 p.m., Lied Center.


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