2021 Update: "The Untitled Othello Project," the latest from Keith Hamilton Cobb (American Moor), is an exercise in creative justice, employing ensemble-based creative practices engaged in deep and sustained exploration of Shakespeare’s Othello. The project seeks to provide dimension to the title character of Shakespeare’s play by providing dimension to all of the characters that people the world wherein his story unfolds, thus revealing a plausible black hero’s journey that Shakespeare left us too few and also perhaps too many words to illustrate. Drop in via YouTube to observe a two-week table reading livestreamed from the campus of Sacred Heart University and in conversation with students there and at University of Maryland.
‘Shakespeare, race, and America... not necessarily in that order’
Keith Hamilton Cobb on American Moor
Directed by Kim Weild
The Kinney Center for Interdisciplinary Renaissance Studies is proud to feature Keith Hamilton Cobb’s widely-acclaimed and award-winning production, American Moor, as the centerpiece of our 2018-2019 program. Throughout the fall, our interdisciplinary program will include live performances, an Actors Studio, academic lectures, pedagogical roundtables, an on-campus residency with Keith Hamilton Cobb, and a keynote address delivered by Professor Kim F. Hall entitled, ‘Othello was my Grandfather’: Shakespeare and Race in the African Diaspora.’
We launch our program with the 2018 Berlin Lecture delivered by Professor Mazen Naous, Department of English (UMass): 'The Lure of the Moor: Othello in an Arab American Setting.’ The lecture will be held at the Kinney Center on October 16th at 4:30 PM.
All events and details can be found by visiting the Calendar link on the Center’s website.
American Moor is 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 another, 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 a gripping, challenging, timely drama that leaves its audiences reflecting on Shakespeare, race, and America... not necessarily in that order.
For more on this Five College Residency, see
Amy Rodgers and Marjorie Rubright, "'American Moor: Othello, Race, and the Conversations Here and Now,’ in Teaching Race in the European Renaissance: A Classroom Guide, Matthieu Chapman and Anna Wainwright, eds. ACMRS Press, 2023.
For a review of the American Moor residency on our campus: https://dailycollegian.com/2018/11/umass-students-should-learn-by-doing/.
For an interview with Keith Hamilton Cobb, see the story in the Daily Hampshire Gazette: https://www.gazettenet.com/American-Moor-21221674
"All This Life Made This Play": An Interview with Keith Hamilton Cobb for the Los Angeles Review of Books
For more information about American Moor, see: http://keithhamiltoncobb.com/site/american-moor/.