First workshopped with The New Play Lab @ Kane Rep, “The Venetians” by Matt Barbot is back in a new version with a 12-member cast.
Oak Park Festival Theatre, in partnership with Kane Repertory Theatre of St. Charles, presents a virtual production of “The Venetians” that brings together various characters from two of Shakespeare’s plays to address contemporary issues. Winner of Roundabout Theatre Company’s 2019 Columbia@Roundabout New Play series, the play directed by Edward Torres, premieres live at 7 p.m. May 8 and can be viewed on demand from May 10 to 16.
Othello, the Moorish general, wants to give his beloved Desdemona the beautiful secret wedding she deserves – but that means borrowing ducats. Unfortunately for him, the moneylender Shylock has spent too long among the terrible people of Venice to see this marriage as anything but a death sentence for Othello. Unbeknownst to Shylock, however, his own daughter has begun an illicit romance that may bring their whole world crashing down on all their heads.
A crossover between Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice” and “The Tragedy of Othello,” “The Venetians” uses two classical outsiders to ask questions about immigration, assimilation, national identity and what “acceptance” truly means, a news release stated.
Chicago theater luminaries James Vincent Meredith and Lawrence Grimm star as Othello and Shylock in this brilliant weaving of Shakespeare’s plays. Both are members of Actors’ Equity Association.
“Barbot walks a line with ‘The Venetians’ which I have seen very few playwrights do before. He modernizes Shakespeare not just for entertainment’s sake, but also to explore the intersectionality of characters in Shakespeare’s worlds,” Kane Repertory Theatre Artistic Director Daniil Krimer stated in the release. “Not only is the play powerful, but it raises valuable questions about identity, assimilation and discrimination. All reasons why we decided to develop it with Matt, Eddie and Oak Park Theatre Festival.”
To learn more, visit www.kanerepertorytheatre.com.
For tickets to the show, visit www.onthestage.com/show/oak-park-festival-theatre/the-venetians-streaming-19236/tickets or tinyurl.com/3r7yz4hu.