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Othello: A Shakespeare Tragedy in The Parking Lot

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To conclude its 28th season of Shakespeare in the Parking Lot, the Drilling Company presents 'Othello' from July 31 to August 16, 2014.

Shakespeare's tragedy is explored as an exploration in contemporary violence and revenge as seen through the eyes of a top diplomatic aide, his non-white new wife, and their sociopathic press representative.

In the production, Othello is sent on missions to resolve international conflicts. While he enjoys international prestige, he experiences doubt at home when he suspects his new wife of infidelity, prompted by the unworthy advice of his chief adviser.

O
Ivory Aquino as Desdemona and Aaron Scott as Othello. Photo by Jonathan Slaff.

The company seeks to explore the way contemporary acts of revenge are at the core of our most violent social dilemmas.

The production uses weapons and costumes both modern and ancient to further accentuate the long history of violence stemming from human deception in a quest for power.

About Shakespeare in the Parking Lot

Since 1995, free Shakespeare has been presented to over 40,000 patrons in the Municipal Parking Lot at Ludlow and Broome Street on Manhattan's Lower East Side.

The plays are presented in a working parking lot, so you can drive there but you should expect to pay the Muni-meter.

Why a parking lot? The Drilling Company's founding artistic director Hamilton Clancy writes, "It is a tremendously accessible gathering place in the heart of the city. Like most companies that do Shakespeare we are following the spirit of Joseph Papp. But putting our own spin on it by placing it in a parking lot, making an urban wrinkle."

Shows are offered while the lot is in use. The action sometimes happens around a parked car which drives away during a performance. At such times, the players stop and the audience moves its chairs, pausing the performance the same way a show would stop for rain uptown in Central Park. It's all part of the fun.

Seats are available on a first come first serve basis, with audience members often arriving as early as 7:00 PM to secure a place. You are encouraged and welcome to bring your own chair. Once seats are gone, blankets are spread out. "We've never turned anyone away and there's never a wait for tickets!" brags Clancy.

Ingenious Adaptations of the Classics

The productions are typically intrepid, bare-boned and often gloriously ingenious adaptations of the classics. For example, in 2010, Hamilton Clancy staged "Julius Caesar" as a battle for control of an urban school system, with women playing Brutus and Cassius. In 2011, director Kathy Curtiss set "The Comedy of Errors" in a pizzeria in Little Italy.

This summer's offerings are supported by the Department for Cultural Affairs and the New York State Council on the Arts, Con Edison, and the Department of Transportation.

"Othello" will be presented July 31 to August 31, 2014, Thursdays - Saturdays at 8:00 PM by The Drilling Company at Municipal Parking Lot at the corner of Ludlow and Broome Streets, New York City (Lower East Side). Admission is free. For more information call 212-873-9050 or visit shakespeareintheparkinglot.com

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