DIRECTOR’S NOTES - Brando Cutts
As the first production of 2019’s “Season of Villains,” I wanted a play which reflected the villains of reality and of all Shakespeare’s works, I believe Othello to be the most accurate reflection of the evils around us today and throughout history. The source material for this work is often believed to be based on an Italian story, published in a collection of stories in 1565. In 1600, an ambassador from what is now considered Morocco visited Queen Elizabeth for some months. It was a big event and with traces of Shakespeare’s play about the Moor first surfacing around 1601, it seems as though he wrote Othello in reaction to the visitor. In adapting the tale from the Italian version, Shakespeare made many changes, such as the manner in which Desdemona is killed, the fate of Othello, and the various levels of involvement of several side characters. Two other changes deserve special attention. First, in the original the moral of the story is clearly stated as being the dangers of marrying non-European men, so we can thank Shakespeare for ditching that. Second, Iago’s motivations were changed from a lust for Desdemona to being a mixture of jealousy, suspicion, and racism, giving us a villain all too real and familiar. Iago embodies the worst of humanity and everything he touches is tainted with his evil. It is Iago’s hate that pushes every character’s actions (no matter how small), showing us that once hate propels our actions, those actions become vile. The struggle Othello goes through is the struggle we all face for our souls: love vs. hate. If we look at Desdemona as a symbol of love (color blind, compassionate, and strong), Iago is the hate that can drive us to kill the love within ourselves, and like Othello “hurl [our] soul from heaven and fiends will snatch at it.” Hate is always a part of us, whispering envy and bitterness into our hearts, sometimes taking the shape of righteousness, just as it does with Othello. It is up to you and me and all of us individually to ignore the whispers and nurture the love that will raise us up to being our best selves.
Aaron is excited to make his debut with LBSC. He recently appeared in TTC’s production of Ripcord, as well as performed as Hamlet, Touchstone and Laertes. “Work hard, do the best you can, don’t ever lose faith in yourself and take no notice of what other people say about you.” -Noel Coward
Alec is from Sydney, Australia. He is a current student on a scholarship at the Stella Adler Academy of Acting. Recent productions include Troilus and Cressida (Secret House) and Arthur and Marilyn (Dinosaurus Productions), which won him the Kerry Casey Best Actor award at Sydney’s Short + Sweet Festival.
Joey is thrilled to be performing in his second show here with the Long Beach Shakespeare Company. His previous credits include Sir Gawain from Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Bellhop from Murder by Midnight and Bill Sykes in Oliver! Enjoy the show!
Ken Knight has worked on over a dozen projects with LBSC as an actor, assistant director and writer. Some of his favorite roles include Stephano in The Tempest, Pistol in Henry V and Dogberry in Much Ado About Nothing. Ken will make his directing debut for LBSC with DoctorFaustus in May.
Pedro Louis is from Florida. This is his first time working with the Long Beach Shakespeare Company. His passion for fine arts derives from Colossians 3:22 25, “Servants work wholeheartedly for your true master Jesus, knowing you’ll receive your inheritance. Being a follower of Christ doesn’t cover up bad work.”
Erin Manker has been on S.W.A.T., The Fosters and 2 Broke Girls but has wanted to play Iago since taking Amy Louise Sebelius’ Shakespeare Villains class when they were 16. Rest in power you magnificent creature, say hello to Billy for me. Additional propaganda at www.erinthemanker.com
Christine is thrilled to be a part of Othello! Growing up in a strict Armenian household, she found it difficult to pursue her dreams in the arts. But with hard work, determination, and passion,anything can happen. She loves acting and has credits ranging from theater to film. @scarlemm_
Dee Dee Popper
Dee Dee received her BA from Sarah Lawrence College and attended the British American Drama Academy in London. She was a proud resident actor with The Rogue And Peasant Players in NYC. Favorite roles include: Viola (Twelfth Night), Juliet (Romeo and Juliet), Lady Macbeth (Macbeth), Tybalt/Paris (Romeo and Juliet), Alice (Closer), Julie (Miss Julie), Bertha Mason (Jane Eyre), and Ismene (Antigone).
Rachel has enjoyed performing since she was a little girl and loves to act on stage and screen. This is her third time performing with LBSC. Previous roles were Boy in Henry V and Cardinal Pandulph in King John. You can find more info at her website www.rachelspeth.com
Recently moved from Boston, Roberto is very grateful to be making his California theatrical debut with LBSC! A recent BFA graduate from Emerson College, his favorite credits include Macbeth (Banquo), Hamlet (Rosencrantz), and The Zoo Story ( Jerry); and can be seen later this year as Caliban in Theatre for a Small Space’s production of The Tempest.