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Theatre Thu Oct 31 2013

Chicago Shakes and CPS Team Up to Stage Othello

For the past five weeks Chicago Public Schools teachers and students have rehearsed tirelessly to put on the production CPS Shakespeare! Othello. This year's performances, which take place on Nov. 1st and Nov. 2nd, is the eighth anniversary of the collaboration between the renowned Chicago Shakespeare Theater and Chicago Public Schools, but director Kirsten Kelly says Othello, in particular, explores unique themes like race, justice and revenge.

"They each get the opportunity to play both the judger and the judged since they switch characters throughout the play," Kelly says, who also adapted the play. "We do this so each ensemble member can look at the story form different points of view."

For the 21 CPS high school students that make up the ensemble, the classic play is not merely another after-school activity. It allows them to meet kids they might not have met otherwise, gain their trust and ultimately build strong lasting friendships; the students are from 11 CPS schools across the city, ranging from Mather High School in the West Ridge neighborhood to Prosser Career Academy in the Belmont Cragin neighborhood. Above all else, the chance to work with theater professionals day in and day out for five weeks is such a fantastic opportunity for these kids in their formative years.

Chicago Shakespeare Theater offers world-class performing arts and literary education programming, serving approx. 40,000 students and teachers a year through productions like CPS Shakespeare! Othello.

"It's special that we all come together and work on something that in the beginning seems to foreign or impossible, and through collaboration, rehearsal and focused examination the students and teachers challenge themselves to reach new places of understanding and presence in the world," Kelly says.

Performances take place on Friday, Nov. 1 at 4:30 pm and Saturday, Nov. 2 at 10:30 am at Chicago Shakespeare Theater's Courtyard Theater. You can buy tickets here.

 
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