The setting is the Theatre Royal in London’s Covent Garden where Ira, a young black American actor has been invited to take over the roll of Othello. This should not have caused any problems except that this is 1833, and there are public riots outside in the streets over the abolition of slavery.
Edmund Kean, the greatest actor of his generation, has collapsed on stage while playing Othello. Red Velvet looks at the pomposity, bigotry, and small mindedness of the cast, critics and audience in accepting a black Othello.
Lolita Chakrabarti’s play is based on the true story of Ira Aldridge, an African-American who, in the nineteenth century, built an incredible reputation as an actor.
The play, which is already virtually sold-out, runs until November 24,2012.
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