Shakespeare's tragedy is explored as an exploration in contemporary violence and revenge as seen through the eyes of a top diplomatic aide, his non-white new wife, and their sociopathic press representative.
In the production, Othello is sent on missions to resolve international conflicts. While he enjoys international prestige, he experiences doubt at home when he suspects his new wife of infidelity, prompted by the unworthy advice of his chief adviser.
The company seeks to explore the way contemporary acts of revenge are at the core of our most violent social dilemmas.
The production uses weapons and costumes both modern and ancient to further accentuate the long history of violence stemming from human deception in a quest for power.
CAST: Aaron Scott (Othello), Ivory Aquino (Desdemona), Hamilton Clancy (Iago), Drew Valins (Montano), Bob Arcaro (Barbantio), Lukas Raphael (Cassio), Michael Bernstein (Roderigo), Ahmed Akkoudous (Ludovico), Jane Bradley (Emilia), Milena Davila (Bianca), Eric Paterniani (Clown).
Scenic design is by Jennifer Varbalow. Costume design is by Nina Vartainian. Fight director is Alessandro Colla.
The Parking Lot at Ludlow and Broome Streets has been an island of adventure and creativity for The Drilling Company and its Lower East Side audiences. The scruffy urban acre, which has been home to Shakespeare productions for two decades, is scheduled to be swallowed up as the long-vacant Seward Park Urban Renewal Area gives way to Essex Crossing, a giant mixed-used development, capping a half century of "progress" since the city laid the groundwork for the megaproject by demolishing the tenement homes of 1,800 Lower East Side families.
So, The Drilling Company is looking for another place to park this uniquely New York tradition next year. Read about it in the Wall Street Journal online.
Shakespeare in the Parking Lot, presented by The Drilling Company (Hamilton Clancy, Artistic Director), is a summer New York institution that performs free Shakespeare productions in a municipal parking lot at the corner of Ludlow and Broome Streets in Manhattan's Lower East Side.
Shakespeare in the Parking Lot was begun in 1995 by Expanded Arts under the artistic direction of Jennifer Spahr. When Ms. Spahr retired in 2000, an organization known as Ludlow Ten was formed under the direction of Leonard McKenzie. The Drilling Company began co-producing SITPL with Ludlow Ten in 2001. After Mr. McKenzie's retirement in 2005, The Drilling Company was asked to continue the great tradition of Shakespeare in the Parking Lot.
We estimate that since 1995, Shakespeare's plays have been presented there for over 40,000 patrons.
The plays are presented in a working parking lot, so you can drive there but you should expect to pay the Muni-meter.
Why a parking lot? "It is a tremendously accessible gathering place in the heart of the city. Like most companies that do Shakespeare we are following the spirit of Joseph Papp. But putting our own spin on it by placing it in a parking lot, making an urban wrinkle," says founding artistic director Hamilton Clancy. Shows are offered while the lot is in use. (Performances this season are Thursdays through Saturdays at 8:00 PM for both shows.) The action sometimes happens around a parked car which drives away during a performance. At such times, the players stop and the audience moves its chairs, pausing the performance the same way a show would stop for rain uptown in Central Park. It's all part of the fun.
Seats are available on a first come first serve basis, with audience members often arriving as early as 7:00 PM to secure a place. You are encouraged and welcome to bring your own chair. Once seats are gone, blankets are spread out. "We've never turned anyone away and there's never a wait for tickets!" brags Clancy.
The productions are typically intrepid, bare-boned and often gloriously ingenious adaptations of the classics. For example, in 2010, Hamilton Clancy staged "Julius Caesar" as a battle for control of an urban school system, with women playing Brutus and Cassius.
The company stresses that the Parking Lot has now become a versatile theater where it presents its work, not unlike the Globe was to Shakespeare. Hamilton Clancy writes, "We believe the Parking Lot can be a container for a range of directorial interpretations and perspectives. We're in the Parking Lot because it's a great place to present the play, not as a site specific interpretation."
This summer's offerings are supported by the Department for Cultural Affairs and the the New York State Council on the Arts, Con Edison, and the Department of Transportation.
CHECK OUT OUR PHOTO ALBUM.
YEARS OF SHAKESPEARE IN THE PARKING LOT
AND WRITEUPS OF SEASONS