L to R: Charlotte Kinder as Miss Ellen Tree, Spencer Parli Tew as Charles Kean, and Desiré Graham as Connie.
PHOTO: M.L. Flowers Chavez
Red Velvet by Lolita Chakrabarti
Produced by O.W.I. (Bureau of Theatre)
BCA Plaza Theatre, May 30-June 16, 2018
Red Velvet is a play about Ira Aldridge, "an African-American actor of the early 19th century, playing a great tragic role that had hitherto been essayed on the English stage only by white men, usually in blackface" says Ben Brantley of The New York Times. Ira Aldridge is a man we read about in Theatre History, but rarely, if ever, consider what it might have been like for him to play Othello on the English stage. In Red Velvet, Aldridge "takes us through the fabled handkerchief scene of 'Othello;' it stirs up an excitement that frightens. You understand very well why such acting would have jolted theatergoers and critics, poised on the cusp of the Victorian era, right out of their hidebound minds."