Revenge leads to murder in classic tale

THE PLOT THICKENS—Iago (Jason McBeth), left, eyes an unsuspecting Desdemona (Rachel Seiferth) and her husband, Othello (Matt Orduña). Courtesy Brian Stethem

THE PLOT THICKENS—Iago (Jason McBeth), left, eyes an unsuspecting Desdemona (Rachel Seiferth) and her husband, Othello (Matt Orduña). Courtesy Brian Stethem

Jealousy, racial hostility, deception and revenge drive “Othello,” the classic tragedy that closes out Kingsmen Shakespeare Company’s 22nd season.

Performances take place Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 8 p.m. July 20 through Aug. 5 in Kingsmen Park on the Thousand Oaks campus of Cal Lutheran University.

The grounds open at 5:30 p.m. for picnicking and entertainment.

Othello, a Moor general in Venice, draws the ire of Iago when the captain is passed over for a promotion. Desperate to avenge the slight, Iago tricks Othello into believing that his wife, Desdemona, is cheating on him. In a rage, Othello kills Desdemona—only to learn he’s been conned. He kills himself in despair.

“I kissed thee … I killed thee,” Othello sobs.

New York-based director Ryan Lee is helming the production.

“I am focusing on it as a love story, a love story of many dysfunctional relationships, where everyone wants someone who doesn’t want them back,” Lee said. “I am also paying close attention to the racial implications, and the women’s issues, and domestic violence that occurs in our lives.”

Lee, who is returning to the festival after directing “Richard III” in 2015, has performed in three productions of “Othello.”

Jason McBeth, who played the title role in Kingsmen’s “Richard III,” is Iago.

Veteran actor Matt Orduña is Othello in his first season with the festival.

Before “Othello” begins, Kingsmen will wrap up its production of “Two Noble Kinsmen” with performances at 8 p.m. Fri., Sat. and Sun., July 13 to 15, at Kingsmen Park. The rarely performed Shakespeare play, touted by scholars as the Bard’s final work, is a tragicomic story of betrayal, war, madness and all-consuming passion.

Tickets for “Two Noble Kinsmen” and “Othello” are free for those under 18, $15 for students with ID, $20 for seniors 65 and older, and $25 for adults.

Reserved lawn boxes have room for six and are $90 to $110.

Tickets are available online at kingsmenshakespeare.org along with lawn box reservations. Tickets are also available at the door.

For more information, call (805) 493-3452.