In 1833 at the Theatre Royal of Covent Garden in London, the great Edmund Keane collapsed on stage during a performance of Shakespeare’s Othello. It is assumed among some in the company that Charles Keane, Edmund’s son, will move up from the role of Iago and inherit his father’s role of Othello. However, the decision belongs not to Charles but to the manager of the theater, Pierre Laporte, whom I have the pleasure of playing.
This is not Pierre’s story, though. Instead, the plot belongs to Ira Aldridge, the first actor of African descent to play Othello. Indeed, it is the passionate Mr. Aldridge, a long-time friend, who Pierre chooses to replace Mr. Keane…amidst race and pro-slavery riots in England.
In an all too socially relevant story, Red Velvet by Lolita Chakrabarti explores the racial divide among the members of the theatre company as the larger than life Aldridge takes his place in Shakespearean performance history…with Pierre cautiously at his side.
What will win…progress or bigotry?
Our production of Red Velvet is the Chicago premier of the play and is produced by Raven Theatre Company and directed by Artistic Director Michael Menendian. In it are the talents of Brandon Greenhouse, Tuckie White, Tyler Rich, Tim Martin, Scott Olson, Sophia Menendian, and Anna Dauzvardis.
For tickets to an upcoming performance, click here.