Genesius Guild is bringing a well-known Shakespeare tragedy back to their stage as they present “Othello” July 8, 9, 15, and 16.
All performances begin at 7 p.m. and will be held at the Don Wooten Stage in Lincoln Park, 1120 40th St., Rock Island. Admission is free.
“Othello” tells the tragic tale of a military commander who marries Desdemona, a beautiful, wealthy Venetian woman, against her father’s wishes. Calm and patient by nature, Othello is slowly tormented by one of his junior officers, Iago, who seeks revenge after Othello passed over Iago for a military promotion, according to a Genesius synopsis.
Over the course of the play, Iago slowly stokes jealousy, convincing Othello that Desdemona is unfaithful. By the end of the play, Iago has succeeded in his machinations but leaves a trail of bloodshed behind him.
Widely considered to be one of Shakespeare’s greatest plays, “Othello”is a fascinating character study of a true villain, Genesius Guild’s release says. As audience members we are able to see Iago’s villainy, but to the other characters in the play he appears to be a good, honest man.
The play explores themes of jealousy, race — and racism — that continue to be relevant in today’s world.
This production, which is sponsored by the Moline Foundation, features a mix of Genesius Guild veterans and newcomers to Genesius’ stage. “Othello” is directed by Teresa Moore and features Anthony Mitchell — a Rock Island native making his first appearance on the Genesius Guild stage — in the title role.
A 23-year-old Rock Island High alum, Mitchell works as an editor and filmmaker and this is biggest theater role yet.
He has played Joseph Asagai in Playcrafters’ July 2022 production of “A Raisin in The Sun,” which featured Teresa Moore as Mama Lena.
“This my first-ever Shakespeare play,” Mitchell said Thursday. “Learning the language has been a little bit difficult. I had to work on some different tactics to actually remember the lines, but eventually I got them all the way down.
“It has been extremely fun and has really felt like a family working with those of Genesius Guild and they have been extremely supportive throughout the process of getting ready for opening night,” he said. “Miss Teresa my director is absolutely amazing and I will love and cherish her and her hard work as long as I live.
“She did more than she could when preparing and organizing this play and I will take that right into my performance,” Mitchell said.
Genesius specializes in free classical drama. Founded in 1956, the group performs Greek drama, Greek comedy, the works of Shakespeare, and other classical authors every weekend throughout the summer. For more information about the Guild, visit its website HERE.