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Worcester Shakespeare Company to Produce Othello

Monday, July 09, 2012


The Worcester Shakespeare Company will be holding its seventh annual festival at a new location and will be bringing Othello to Central Mass. all summer beginning next Friday. This will be the troupe's first time showing this play.

In previous years, the acting company put on two productions each summer at Worcester’s Green Hill Park, but due to cutbacks and difficult times, they will be performing only the one play, at their new venue, the historic Whitinsville Mill in cooperation with Alternatives Unlimited Inc.

Despite these changes, the acting troupe is prepared to deliver its yearly festival with all of the brilliance of years past, making Shakespeare’s masterpieces accessible to the area.

The group includes professional actors, members of the Worcester community, and student apprentices.

Location Change

The new performance venue features an outdoor piazza and an adjacent river. Whitinsville Mill is located approximately twenty minutes from downtown Worcester, located south on Route 146.

Mel Cobb, actor and Producing Artistic Director for the Worcester Shakespeare Company said that the support they have received has made them determined to bring great energy and an amazing performance to their new venue.

“Even though difficult times continue for all of us, we feel bringing Shakespeare to Central Massachusetts is vital,” he said in a statement on the company’s website. “The choice of Shakespeare’s Othello as the single production was a direct result of what the Piazza of the Alternatives complex offers us. The buildings, the piazza and adjacent river all suggest that most serene city, Venice.”

Cobb is in his fifth season with the Worcester Shakespeare Festival and will be playing Othello. He says the group hopes to return to their former location but will be making the best of the Whitinsville Mill.

"Now, as we come close to opening, the fire of their talent is making the possibility for a hugely memorable production truly real," he said.

New Faces and Old

Cobb is leading this year’s cast in his fifth year, but the company is also seeing some new faces, which he says are bringing a lot to the table.

"Everyone is contributing mightily with their talent and hard work as all WSC members always have," he said. "Specifically though, the three actors from New York, Stacey Hardke (Desdemona), David Personne (Iago) and Sarah Cronk (Emily) are bringing a level of professional acting talent that matches the best we've ever had." 

Bill Sigalis (Director/Brabantio) will be joining the Worcester Shakespeare Company this season. His directing credits include The Two Gentlemen of Verona (Redfeather Theater Company); Tartuffe, Lost in Yonkers, Woman in Mind, Three Tall Women (New England Theater Company); The Threepenny Opera (Vokes Theater and Entr’Actors Guild); The House of Blue Leaves (Entr’Actors Guild); The Royal Family, Anouilh’s Antigone (Concord Players); Amahl and the Night Visitors (Salisbury Singers); Bathsheba Spooner, an opera by David McKay (world premiere-American Antiquarian Society).

Jack Griguoli who will be playing Roderigo in their production of the famous tragedy and is also a new face to the troupe. This will be his first production in the East, coming from Southern California.

David Personne will be playing the villain of the tragedy, Iago, one of the most well-known antagonists in Shakespeare’s work. Personne was born in Paris, France and raised in Lisbon, Portugal. An actor and a musician, Personne started his acting career in Portuguese and French television shows, commercials, and movies, totaling almost 10 years of experience.

“David has a particular set of talents including a musical one. He has written and will perform original music and songs as Iago. This musical and winning demeanor for Iago makes it one of the most fascinating Iagoes I've ever seen,” Cobb said. “And, of course, although Othello is fairly well defined by Shakespeare, my own responses to what David is bringing to the character has taken me in directions I had never conceived.”

Cobb says that Personne’s background has brought a lot to the table

“The ‘music’ of his accent while speaking Shakespeare in English makes his Iago unique,” he said. “For me, it's like hearing Iago's lines as I've never heard them before. And, of course, this causes me to respond as Othello in dynamically varied ways. It's a marvelous exploration of new worlds for me.”

Othello opens on Friday, July 13th, and will run every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 7:00 pm through August 19th. Tickets can be purchased on their website.


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