VERMILLION — South Dakota Shakespeare Festival Executive Artistic Director Chaya Gordon-Bland has announced that casting is complete for its production of “Othello” in Vermillion’s Prentis Park, June 16-19, 2022.

With pandemic restrictions waning, SDSF is once again hiring professional actors from across the country, creating a company of local and national actors. Fulfilling director Tara Moses’s creative vision for this production, a cast of racially diverse actors will address the play’s themes of race, racism, and othering in a unique and relevant way.

“Othello” has fascinated artists and audiences for centuries in part due to its dual lead roles: Othello, the first sympathetic and three-dimensional black character written in Western drama, and Iago, the deliciously evil villain you love to hate. Cody Floyd, a recent graduate of the University of Alabama’s BFA Acting program, takes on the role of Othello, and Chingwe Padraig Sullivan, an MFA Acting student at Brown/Trinity, plays Iago.

Also making their SDSF debuts are Clew (Cassio), an MFA Acting student at Brown/Trinity, and Lucia Graff (Montano & others), a senior at University of Nebraska.

Returning to SDSF’s stage from far away are Erin Tripp (Alaska) and Kenny Ramos (California), who will play Desdemona and Roderigo. SDSF audiences will remember them as Helena and Puck from its 2019 production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

The cast also includes students and faculty of the USD Theatre Department: Chaya Gordon-Bland (Emilia) is the Associate Professor in the areas Movement, Shakespeare, and classical styles and Joe Stollenwerk (Brabantio) is the Assistant Professor of Directing. Grace Kjelden (Gratiano & others) is a graduating senior in the BFA Musical Theatre program, Marquise Howard (Chief Ven) and Christian Sage (Lodovico & others) are juniors in the BFA Acting program, and Skyla (Bianca & others) is a sophomore in the BFA Musical Theatre program.

“Othello” will be directed by Tara Moses, a citizen of Seminole Nation of Oklahoma, Mvskoke, multi-award-winning playwright, co-Artistic Director of Red Eagle Soaring, co-Founder of Groundwater Arts, and a current M.F.A. candidate in Directing at Brown/Trinity Rep.

The free production in the park will take place for a live audience as well as via a streaming platform.

More information can be found at www.SDShakespearefestival.org.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.