The Twentieth Season
Shakespeare's tragedy was presented 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 sought to explore the way contemporary acts of revenge are at the core of our most violent social dilemmas.
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 was by Jennifer Varbalow. Costume design was by Nina Vartainian. Fight director was Alessandro Colla.
WHERE AND WHEN:
Illyria became the Parking Lot itself in Shakespeare in the Parking Lot's production of "Twelfth Night," presented by The Drilling Company from July 10 to 26 in the Municipal Parking Lot at the corner of Ludlow and Broome Streets. Hamilton Clancy directed.
The production was an homage to the Parking Lot itself, which has been covered by media throughout the world because of its unique setting. The scruffy urban acre, which has been home to Shakespeare in the Parking Lot for two decades, is being 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.
"Twelfth Night," one of the last and most bitter-sweet of Shakespeare's comedies, is a play filled with deeply flawed, richly drawn and memorable characters, replete with mismatched lovers, love unrequited and love finally satisfied. The central plot hinges on the resemblance of Sebastian and his twin sister Viola, who are separated from each other in a shipwreck off the coast of Illyria. Believing her brother to be dead, Viola dresses as a boy and finds employment as Cesario, a page to Orsino, Duke of Illyria. The Duke is an ardent and unrelenting suitor to the Countess Olivia, but she will have nothing to do with him. She falls instead for his reluctant messenger of love, Cesario. When Viola’s brother arrives on the scene, the fun of mistaken identities begins in earnest. The comedy is intensified by the uproarious machinations of several endearing clowns: Sir Andrew Aguecheek, Sir Toby Belch, Feste, Maria and most importantly, Olivia’s proud and officious steward, Malvolio, whose name means "ill will."
In this production, the shipwrecked twins were swept into the Parking Lot itself. The other characters of the play were based on those you might find in the contemporary world of the Lower East Side. Amanda Dillard and Skylar Gallun, as Viola and Sebastian, were a common sight: lost visitors. Sir Toby, played by Alexander Colla, was a tribute to some of the affectionate drunks who have peppered the audiences of past years. The character of Olivia, as played by Victoria Campbell, was based on wealthy, status-seeking residents of the neighborhood who populate its stately blue silver towers that were absent when these Shakespeare productions began. Andy Markert modeled Andrew Aguecheek on tech millionaires who have moved there. Jonathan Eric Forster played Feste as a cross-dressing drag queen, which is still a common sight. The servant characters, most notably Malvolio (David Marantz) and Maria (Evangeline Fontaine) represented the now-growing service class of the Lower East Side, where in doorman-staffed palaces, we now see -- shudder – houseboys and manservants. Director Hamilton Clancy explained,"Like the Lower East side itself, the Parking Lot is a melting pot for people and meeting spot for people from a wide range of differences. Shakespeare speaks to human diversity and performing it in the Parking Lot has always seemed the perfect frame for us. This production aims to celebrate that."
Jennifer Varbalow, who has designed six past parking lot shows and recently "Hamlet" for Bryant Park Shakespeare, returned as scenic designer. Costume design was by Nina Vartainian and original music was by Jonathan Eric Foster. Kathy Curtis was text consultant and fight director.
cast was: Nathan Ramos as Orsino, Joe Clancy as Curio, Gordon Palaggi
as Valentine, Amanda Dillard as Viola, Alessandro Colla as Sir Toby
Belch, Jonathan Eric Forster as Feste, Evangeline Fontaine as Maria,
Andy Markert as Andrew Aguecheek, David Marantz as Malvolio, Mary Linehan
as Fabia and Michael Imperato as The Captain.
AND WRITEUPS OF SEASONS