Mississippi College

MC Hosts Shakespeare Festival

February 7, 2008

Getting stabbed with a big sword during a rehearsal of the tragedy "Othello" was an interesting experience for Mississippi College sophomore Jay Mullins.

But on this chilly February afternoon on the Clinton campus, Mullins, a 19-year-old English major from Memphis, never lost a drop of blood when he suddenly "died" on stage.

"This has been a fun experience, the cast is good and most have acted before," Mullins said. He came to rehearsal wearing a football jersey with No 22 plastered on his shirt. In the days ahead, he will switch to a costume as MC students gear up for the first performance on Feb. 28 in the Aven Little Theatre.

"Othello" takes center stage as Mississippi College hosts the 31st annual Shakespeare festival. The MC production runs through March.

"This is challenging - there are a lot of lines in Elizabethan English," said MC senior Bernard Dafney, 22, a Long Beach, Calif. native who plays the lead role of Othello. The play is part of a career journey and passion for the 2004 Tylertown High graduate. "I plan to use theatre in the mission field."

MC's production is presented by the Department of Communication. Performances will be in the Aven Little Theater in the basement of the Aven Fine Arts Building. Tickets cost $5 for all students, MC faculty and staff and $10 for general admission and go on sale Friday.

Written around the year 1603 by William Shakespeare, the play remains a hit with audiences today because of its timeless themes of racism, love, jealousy and betrayal. The play revolves around four central characters, Othello, his wife, his lieutenant and his trusted advisor. Othello's character may have been inspired by several Moorish delegations from Morocco to Elizabethan England by the beginning of the 17th Century.

MC's production will be at 7 p.m. on Feb. 28, 29 and on March 1. On March 2, it will be at 2 p.m. On March 6-7-8 performances begin at 7 p.m. and it closes on March 9 with a 2 p.m. performance.

"This show is not for the faint of heart, not for little children" said MC communication professor Phyllis Seawright during a break from rehearsal. The play is being presented in the Aven Little Theatre because of the numerous soliloquies and "intense death scenes," she said. "The intimate setting of the Little Theater puts the audience right into the action of the play and into the minds and hearts of the characters."

For more information, contact the Ticket line at 601.925.3935.

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