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AMERICAN MOOR Live Performance
American Moor is a 90-minute solo play written and performed by Keith Hamilton Cobb and directed by Kim Weild. It examines the experience and perspective of black men in America through the metaphor of William Shakespeare’s character, Othello. It is not an adaptation of Othello but an echoing of it in our lives today. It is a play about race in America, but it is also a play about who gets to make art, who gets to play Shakespeare, about the qualitative decline of the American theatre, about actors and acting, and about the nature of unadulterated love. It is not an “angry black man play.” Rather the widely diverse audiences that have experienced it echo the piece’s awareness that we see only what we want to see of one of and that we all long to be wholly noticed and wholly embraced. It is an often funny, often heartbreaking examination of the pall of privileged perspective that is ultimately so injurious to us all. It is gripping, challenging, another, timely drama that leaves its audiences reflecting on race, America, and Shakespeare . . . not necessarily in that order.
The play has been awarded the Outstanding Solo Performance honors at the 2015 AUDELCO Awards honoring excellence in New York City African American Theatre. The Anacostia Playhouse production (Washington D.C.) was formally celebrated by the Folger Shakespeare Library, where the script was taken into the library’s permanent collection—side by side with Shakespeare’s quartos and folios. Summer 2018, American Moor was featured at The Globe Theatre in London.