Kingsmen season concludes with 'Othello'

Shakespeare play's themes make it popular this year

Jason McBeth is Iago, Rachel Seiferth is Desdemona and Matt Orduña is Othello.

Photo: Brian Stethem

(THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – July 2, 2018) The Kingsmen Shakespeare Company will close its 22nd season with “Othello,” a popular play that has become even more so as the world grapples with some of its central issues.

“In these days of public discourse relating to ‘the other,’ theater communities across the world are staging productions of ‘Othello,’ including the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Shakespeare’s Globe in London and Shakespeare in the Park in New York City,” said Kingsmen Shakespeare Festival artistic director Michael Arndt.

“Othello” will begin at 8 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights from July 20 through Aug. 5 in Kingsmen Park on the Thousand Oaks campus of California Lutheran University. The grounds open at 5:30 p.m. for picnicking and entertainment.  

Racial animus, jealousy and revenge drive this Shakespeare tragedy. The weapons of choice for famed villain Iago are his victim’s own prejudice and paranoia, and he wields them with a merciless intelligence, smiling as he effects the ruin of the noble Othello and his bride, Desdemona, and dragging down the entire state in the process. 

“I am focusing on it as a love story, a love story of many dysfunctional relationships, where everyone wants someone who doesn’t want them back,” said director Ryan Lee of New York.“I am also paying close attention to the racial implications, and the women’s issues, and domestic violence that occurs in our lives.” 

Lee, who is returning to the festival after directing “Richard III” in 2015, has performed in three productions of “Othello” and has always wanted to direct it.

“This play resonates with everyone. It is about people. Real people. It isn’t about kings and queens and English history. It’s about relationships,” Lee said. “They are all longing for something they don’t ever get.” 

Jason McBeth, who played the title role in Kingsmen’s “Richard III,” is Iago. Veteran actor Matt Orduña is Othello in his first season with the festival. Connor Sullivan will play Cassio after taking on his first Kingsmen role as Arcite in “The Two Noble Kinsmen” this season. Festival favorites Rachel Seiferth and Angela Gulner are Desdemona and Emilia.

The Kingsmen Shakespeare Company is the professional theater troupe of Cal Lutheran. 

General admission is free for those under 18, $15 for students with ID, $20 for seniors 65 and older, and $25 for everyone else. Reserved lawn boxes have room for six and are $90 to $110. Individual tickets are available online at kingsmenshakespeare.org for the first time along with lawn boxes. Individual tickets are available at the door. For more information, call 805-493-3452.

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