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CCC's Foundation presents "Othello"

DATE: 04-20-2004

The Cayuga County Community College Foundation, Inc.

PRESENTS

Shakespeare's OTHELLO

Aquila Theatre Company's production of Othello part of National Endowment for the Arts initiative SHAKESPEARE IN AMERICAN COMMUNITIES

TUESDAY, APRIL 20, 2004, at 7:30 p.m. in the CAYUGA COMMUNITY COLLEGE THEATRE

The Cayuga County Community College Foundation, Inc. will present Aquila Theatre Company's production of William Shakespeare's Othello. The April 20, 2004, performance and Masterclass are part of Shakespeare in American Communities, a 50-state, 100-community tour of Shakespeare's plays by six of the nation's finest theater companies. The National Endowment for the Arts in cooperation with Minneapolis-based Arts Midwest, makes this tour possible. The Sallie Mae Fund has purchased 50 tickets for this performance to distribute to underprivileged high school students and their chaperones through the Foundation.

Tickets, priced at $10 for adults and $5 for non-Community College students and seniors, may be purchased at the Foundation or Student Activities Offices during business hours, at the College reception desk Monday through Thursday evenings, or if still available, at the door before the Othello performance.

A Physical Theatre Masterclass on Othello will be held on April 20 from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m. for invited students from Cayuga Community College and Wells College and for Merry Go Round Theatre actresses and actors.

Shakespeare in American Communities brings quality professional theater productions of Shakespeare and related educational activities to Americans in small and mid-sized communities throughout the country. This initiative represents the largest tour of Shakespeare in American history, reaching audiences in all 50 states with performances, artistic and technical workshops, symposia about the production, and educational programs in local schools. The initiative is intended to demonstrate the benefits of theater touring and lead to further efforts to make professional theater a vital part of the nation's cultural landscape.

“A great nation deserves great art,” said National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Dana Gioia. “We are proud to present to America the greatest playwright in the English language. And we are proud to present performances of the highest caliber. Shakespeare in American Communities exemplifies the Arts Endowment's commitment to artistic excellence, access to all Americans, and leadership in arts education.”

Othello: Shakespeare's Othello is the story of a well-traveled Moorish army general whose life is undermined by the conniving tricks of his evil ensign, Iago. Through a complicated web of miscommunication, lies and deceit perpetrated by Iago, Othello is tricked into believing that his wife, Desdemona, has been unfaithful to him. Othello murders his wife, though she professes her innocence to the end. Once he realizes that he has killed her for false reasons, Othello takes his own life. The play ends with orders that Iago be executed for his crimes.

Aquila Theatre Company Inc.: Innovative and dynamic, the Aquila Theatre Company (www.aquilatheatre.com) has gained an international reputation as one of the foremost producers of touring theater. The company presents high-quality, inventive productions of classical drama under the artistic leadership of founder Peter Meineck and associate director Robert Richmond. Since its inception in 1991 Aquila has won critical and academic acclaim worldwide as it changes the perceptions of classical drama by freeing the spirit of the original text and allowing the widest possible audience to enjoy great plays as live, visceral, and above all, entertaining theater. Aquila tours extensively throughout North America and Europe and is the Company in Residence at New York University's Center for Ancient Studies. It has presented regular runs in New York and London and multiple performances in major cities across the United States. The company also stages shows at festivals such as Summer Shakespeare at the 5000-seat Mann Theatre in Philadelphia and the Folger Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, D.C. The highly respected Aquila Education Program consisting of, in part, special school performances and participatory master classes has been presented in over 250 North American schools, universities, museums, libraries and community groups. The Aquila Theatre Company for Young Audiences works in partnership with the Lincoln Center Institute to present first-rate classical drama to schools in New York. The company's 2003?4 touring season features two new productions, Shakespeare's Othello and a new stage adaptation of Kipling's The Man Who Would Be King. These shows will visit over 60 communities in 32 states. The acclaimed Aquila education program will also be presented alongside the touring program, developing new and non-traditional audiences for exciting, excellent and innovative classical drama.

The National Endowment for the Arts: The mission of the National Endowment for the Arts is to enrich the nation and its diverse cultural heritage by supporting works of artistic excellence, advancing learning in the arts, and strengthening the arts in communities throughout the country. Established by Congress in 1965, the Arts Endowment is an independent agency of the federal government and is the largest annual funder of the arts. Since then, it has awarded more than 120,000 grants in all 50 states and the six U.S. jurisdictions. “Through Shakespeare in American Communities,” said endowment chairman Gioia, “the National Endowment for the Arts will revitalize the longstanding American theatrical touring tradition that harkens back to the 18th century, bringing high-quality arts experiences to a broad audience.” Information about Shakespeare in American Communities or the Arts Endowment is at www.arts.gov. The Arts Endowment has developed an educational resource packet that includes a video and CD; a timeline poster of Shakespeare's life and times; guidelines for conducting recitation contests; a booklet for teachers with sample lesson plans; and essays on Shakespeare and Elizabethan theater. Information is available from the Arts Endowment communication office at 202-682-5570 or www.shakespeareinamericancommunities.org/edu/edu.html.

Information on the Aquila Theatre Company's production of Othello is available from the Cayuga County Community College Foundation at 315-255-1792, extension 2457. The Foundation supports cultural enrichment programs, including speakers and fine and performing arts, through its Cultural Enrichment Fund, created in 1994.