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.