Siena hosted a performance of the Shakespearian classic, “The Tragedy of Othello,” which was performed by Will Kempe’s Players on Sunday, Sept. 30. The performance took place outdoors with the audience sitting on the steps that surround the lawn outside of Roger Bacon Hall. Siena students, as well as local community members, were in attendance for a lively and captivating depiction of the play. This event was included as part of Siena’s Family Weekend festivities.
Will Kempe’s Players, the performing company, is based out of Troy, New York. The company’s website states that they are “a company of local theatre-makers devoted to original practices Shakespeare and contemporary theatre.” Cast members of the play included some Siena alumni. Angela Castro, who received her B.A. in Creative Arts at Siena, played the Priest, Officer and Kitchen Maid. Michael Sinkora ’17 played the supporting role of Rodrigo, and Andrew Vroman ’15 also participated in the show.
“Othello” is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare and is based on the story “Un Capitano Moro” (“A Moorish Captain”) by Cinthio. The story revolves around Othello, a captain, and Iago, one of Othello’s unfaithful officers. The play touches on themes such as racism, love, jealousy, betrayal and revenge.
The production started in typical Shakespearian fashion as cast members played instruments, including violin, ukulele and guitar while singing an old folk song. This proved the cast members to be multitalented in singing and acting. With an outdoor venue, there proved to be many obstacles as to how the show would turn out. However, the weather, passing students, and noises from other activities on campus had no effect on the actors as they performed exceptionally well. Every actor in the production, whether they were in a starring role or supportive role, were able to captivate the audience and draw us into the world of Shakespeare’s “Othello.” The beautiful and time period-appropriate costumes added to the performance of the play with ornately decorated capes and long, flowing dresses. One element of the performance that especially captivated the crowd was actors’ interactions with the audience. Actors would often bound right up to an audience member, delivering a monologue while looking directly into someone’s eyes, or speak to the audience as if they, too, were a part of the production. Kristopher DiMaria, who played the villainous Iago, showed no fear in interacting with the audience and would often play up his character’s nefarious ways with these interactions. However, it was Michael A. Lake, who starred as Othello, who stole the show. His booming voice, clear speech and overall talent as an actor had the audience fully drawn to his performance. Lake performed in other productions such as “The Normal Heart” (CCT), “As You Like It” (Saratoga Shakespeare) and in several independent movie projects.
Ultimately, the hard work of the cast and crew was very apparent in this production of “Othello.” The talent of each cast member shone through in each role and audience members were clearly delighted to be watching this performance. Will Kempe’s Players’ next production will be “Faustus: A Tragical History,” which runs from Oct. 23 to Oct. 26 at the Albany Barn in Albany, NY.