LSM Newswire

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Persephone Productions: Othello

Persephone Productions Brings OTHELLO to the McCord Museum

November 13 ’Ä́ 29, 2008

Persephone Productions presents Shakespeare's great tragedy Othello at the McCord Museum's J. Armand Bombardier Theatre from November 14 ’Ä́ 29, with one preview November 13th.

Othello, a noble moor and a military hero, is caught in a terrifying web of deceit in Shakespeare's gripping masterpiece. The play vividly illustrates the power of words to manipulate and ultimately destroy, revealing our own vulnerability against the forces of persuasion. The plot is brimming with disturbing and conflicting emotions of love and hate, jealousy and ambition, sexual desire and individual integrity, as the characters struggle against forces that overpower them.

Tackling a hefty classic such as Othello is an ambitious undertaking. When asked what in particular about this play attracted Ms Soskin, she explained, "What is so wonderful about Othello is its timelessness. Like all great tragedies, it is tragedy of character. It is a tragedy about human beings, not a play specifically about betrayal, jealousy, power or racism. I think that is the appeal and greatness of Shakespeare; he wrote about us as we really are in all our frailty. The special challenge of this production is to speak the heightened and rich language of the text so that the story is clear and can be understood. I think the audience will then be able to identify its universal truth."

The company will stage this production on a bare stage with costumes that reflect the period of the Renaissance, designed by newcomer Raina-Clair Gillis, with lighting by Jody Burkholder and an original musical score by first-year McGill Arts student, James Keenan Campbell, with Mary Davidson at the helm as stage manager.

Created in 2000, Persephone Productions is mandated to provide work experience for young professional theatre artists in all areas of their expertise. Besides giving wonderful acting roles to professional theatre graduates, there are two other shining examples of this ideal.

Gabrielle Soskin met Raina-Clair Gillis at a vernisage at Envers, the popular Westmount clothing boutique owned by Quebecois fashion designer, Yves Jean Lacasse. They briefly discussed theatre design versus haute couture after which Ms Soskin suggested that Raina-Clair contact her if she would like to try her hand at costume design. A year later, Raina-Clair called to announce that she had launched her own fashion design business with a studio on the Plateau and was still very intrigued with the idea of designing for theatre. Not only did Raina-Clair design all the costumes for Othello, but she constructed them as well.

James Keenan Campbell is another model of the Persephone mandate in action. A mailing list member contacted Ms Soskin, as she knew of a student coming to Montreal from Minneapolis to attend McGill University. He had a penchant for theatre and expressed a desire to get involved in the local scene. Through the mutual connection, James already knew that Persephone was producing Othello and let it be known that he had wanted to write music for the play for some time. A score he had created for his high school production of The Crucible, as well as musical samples of the direction he would like to take with an original Othello score, were sent to Ms Soskin. Although her initial concept of the play did not include original music, she liked what she heard and agreed to give him a chance to meet this special challenge.

DATES & TIMES: November 13 to 29 8:00 pm

Weekday matinˆ©es: November 14, 17, 19, 20, 24 & 26 1:00 pm
Sunday matinˆ©es: November 16 and 23 2:00 pm


Adults $26
Groups (10 or more) $20
Students / seniors $18
School groups $17.50
QDF members $18

VENUE: McCord Museum

690 Sherbrooke Street West

J. Armand Bombardier Theatre

Box office: (514) 398 - 7100 ext. 234


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