About The Venetians - Streaming

Othello, the Moorish general, wants to give his beloved Desdemona the beautiful secret wedding she deserves... but that means borrowing ducats. Unfortunately for him, the moneylender Shylock has spent too long among the terrible people of Venice to see this marriage as anything but a death sentence for Othello. Unbeknownst to Shylock, however, his own daughter has begun an illicit romance that may bring their whole world crashing down on all their heads. A crossover between Shakespeare's “The Merchant of Venice” and “The Tragedy of Othello,” “The Venetians” uses two classical outsiders to ask questions about immigration, assimilation, national identity and what “acceptance” truly means.

Oak Park Festival Theatre, in partnership with Kane Repertory Theatre, presents a virtual production of “The Venetians,” a new play by Matt Barbot that brings together various characters from two of Shakespeare’s best loved plays to address contemporary issues. Winner of Roundabout Theatre Company’s 2019 [email protected] New Play series, the play directed by Edward Torres, premieres May 8 at 7 p.m. and can be viewed on demand through May 15. Tickets are on sale now.

Oak Park Festival Theatre and Kane Repertory Theatre

"This play is a wonderful synthesis of our company’s Shakespearian roots and our desire to continue to work to expand our vision to one where everyone is represented and celebrated on our stages,” says Oak Park Festival Theatre Artistic Director Barbara Zahora. “This play also gives us the opportunity to work with Kane Repertory Theatre and the incomparable Edward Torres, and it is our hope that this is just the first of other exciting collaborations to come.”

Oak Park Festival Theatre is Oak Park’s premiere Equity theater, and the oldest professional outdoor classical theater in the Midwest. Throughout its history, Oak Park Festival Theatre has presented more than 100 plays, enjoyed by more than 5,000 audience members annually. Founded in 1975 by Oak Park resident Marion Karczmar, its first production, William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” was performed on a flatbed truck parked on the Westgate cul-de-sac in downtown Oak Park with a cast that included then unknowns David Mamet and William H. Macy. In 1976, the Park District of Oak Park invited the festival to perform under a canopy of stars in the idyllic Austin Gardens located at 167 Forest Avenue.  Every year since, with the exception of summer 2020, Oak Park Festival Theatre has returned to the gardens to build their summer stage. Today, under the leadership of artistic director Barbara Zahora and managing director Bryan Wakefield, the theater looks to reclaim its place in the Chicago area’s summer outdoor theater scene.

"Barbot walks a line with ‘The Venetians’ which I have seen very few playwrights do before. He modernizes Shakespeare not just for entertainment's sake, but also to explore the intersectionality of characters in Shakespeare's worlds,” says Kane Repertory Theatre Artistic Director Daniil Krimer. “Not only is the play powerful, but it raises valuable questions about identity, assimilation, and discrimination. All reasons why we decided to develop it with Matt, Eddie and Oak Park Theatre Festival." 

Kane Repertory Theatre is a professional 501(c)(3) non-profit theater company located in St. Charles, Ill. By using visceral performance to explore values in America, Kane works to spark conversation, evoke empathy, and strengthen the community. With an ensemble of actors and designers who have worked professionally all over the country in T.V., film, and theater, it seeks to be one of the Midwest’s leading regional theaters by forming an ensemble of dynamic artists, while providing patrons of all ages with first-class theatre education, and engaging new audiences through various outreach efforts.