Contemporary or Classic, Theater Holds up Mirror to Society

October 4, 2013

Nora Hussey, director of the Theatre Department and the Theatre Studies Program at Wellesley, spoke with Boston Globe theater critic Don Aucoin for a recent article exploring the ways theater mirrors contemporary issues, events, and society.

In her faculty profile Hussey writes that her “teaching reflects [her] interest in theatre as a reflection of the society in which it is created.” She told the Globe: “[R]esponding to contemporary issues, contemporary events, makes the theater much more viable in terms of societal effect.”

“We have got to tell the stories of today,” Hussey continued. “We have to tell what’s happening; we have to bear witness.’’ Read “Boston Theater Shines Light on Dramas of Our Times” in the Boston Globe.

It's not only contemporary theater that speaks to the issues of the day, the classics are equally eloquent. Throughout this week, Wellesley's Theatre Department has played host to Actors from the London Stage. The group has been at Wellesley in residence, teaching workshops for Wellesley’s Theatre Studies Program and English Department students and preparing to present Shakespeare’s Othello.

Othello is the tale of a great general goaded by the deceit of his most trusted friend Iago into fatal jealousy and personal ruin. Although thought to have been written in the early 1600s, the play's central themes of racism, love, jealousy, and betrayal still speak to audiences today. Two performances remain, October 4 and 5 at 7 p.m. in the Diana Chapman Walsh Alumnae Hall Auditorium. Free and open to the public.

The Actors from the London Stage (AFTLS) is one of the oldest and most respected touring Shakespeare companies in the world. Coming from such prestigious venues as the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Royal National Theatre of Great Britain, and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, these classically trained actors are equally dedicated to presenting first-rate professional performances at American colleges and universities, and to working with students to bring Shakespeare’s work alive.

This is AFTLS’s eighth visit to the Wellesley campus. Past productions include The Merchant of Venice, The Tempest, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, King Lear, The Winter’s Tale, Macbeth, and Hamlet

Performances are presented by The Wellesley College Theatre Studies Program and the Department of English, through the generous support of the Committee on Lectures and Cultural Events, the Frye Martinson Fund, the Finnegan Fund, the Wilson Fund, the Harman Cain Family Foundation, and the Ruth Nagel Jones Fund.