USAO Theatre Dept. to present Oklahoma premier of Shakespeare “sequel”

One-night-only digital premiere of “Desdemona’s Child (blood cry)” to be held Oct. 23
One-night-only digital premiere of “Desdemona’s Child (blood cry)” to be held Oct. 23

In collaboration with the “Inter’act” season of the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma’s acclaimed Davis-Waldorf Performing Arts Series, the theatre arts department will present two related works in exclusive one-night-only performances on Oct. 19 and Oct. 23 at 7 p.m.

On Oct. 19, a company of 14 students and five alumni will read an abridged version of Shakespeare’s “Othello” live via Zoom so audiences can experience this play in anticipation of Caridad Svich’s contemporary sequel. Professor of Theatre Arts and DWPAS Executive Director Katie Davis adapted this Renaissance tragedy in collaboration with recent USAO graduate Emma Rose Kraus for this event.

On Oct. 23, the fall production of the theatre arts program, “Desdemona’s Child (blood cry)” will be performed as live, online theatre. Described by the playwright as written “in the wake of ‘Othello,’” Svich’s work examines the enduring legacy or prejudice and trauma in a setting where Shakespeare’s world crosses with our own. After the performance, guest dramaturg and USAO alumna Cynthia Cunningham will lead the cast and crew in a behind-the-scenes conversation with the audience.

“Everything about live theatre has changed in the past eight months,” said Davis. “Live, online theatre isn’t film and it isn’t theatre. It’s new. Our challenge in the theatre arts department, and in the continuation of the DWPAS, is to adapt quickly so that creative forms can become normal and an effective tool for reaching audiences. Our goal is to continue to bring ideas, entertainment and the experience of being an audience together for our community in a way that is safe, accessible and interesting. Families from around the globe will get to watch our work.”

Latinx playwright Svich has written over 40 full-length plays, 15 translations as well as other short works. Founder of the theatre alliance and press NoPassport, she has been a guest artist at the Treverse Theater in Edinburgh and the Royal Court Theater in London as well as a guest lecturer at the Yale School of Drama. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina–Charlotte and a master of fine arts from the University of California–San Diego. She is collaborating with USAO on the presentation of this new play, for the first time both on Zoom and in the United States. A scheduled production at the Carnegie-Mellon School of Drama in spring 2020 was cancelled due to COVID-19.

The USAO Foundation presents the DWPAS with additional support from the Oklahoma Arts Council, Chickasha Public School Foundation, Mid-America Arts Alliance and community and corporate partners. Its mission is to encourage attendance at high-quality performing arts events as an aspect of a liberal arts education for our students, to provide an affordable entertainment resource for our college family and our community, and to become a leader in local arts education by presenting relevant and culturally diverse programming that broadens the aesthetic of our audiences.

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