Performance: “American Moor”

“American Moor” is a 90-minute solo play written and performed by Keith Hamilton Cobb, examining the experience and perspective of black men in America through the metaphor of William Shakespeare's character, Othello.

In this passionate and poetic exploration, under the direction of Kim Weild, a seasoned African-American actor auditioning for the role of Shakespeare’s Othello must respond to the dictates of a younger, white director who presumes to understand how to maximize the iconic black character for believability.  What could possibly go wrong?

“American Moor” is not an ‘angry black man play.’ Rather the diverse audiences that have experienced it echo the piece's awareness that we see only what we want to see of one another, and that we all long to be wholly noticed and wholly embraced. It is a play about race in America, but it is also about the American theatre, about actors and acting, and about the nature of unadulterated love. It is an often funny, often heartbreaking examination of the pall of privileged perspective that is ultimately so injurious to us all.

Keith Hamilton Cobb and Kim Weild will be in residency at Mount Holyoke November 3–11.  Learn more.

Sponsored by the departments of Theatre Arts, English, Africana Studies, Film Studies, and Critical Social Thought as well as the Office of Student LIfe.

Keith Hamilton Cobb

Keith Hamilton Cobb is an actor who has spent the majority of his working life on stage and is readily recognized on the streets of New York for several unique character portrayals in television. "American Moor" is not his first play, but it is the one that is most timely, most truthful and the one for which he is most suited to perform, for it is a vision of race in America with the entertainment industry as microcosm. And Cobb is now able to reflect upon a lifetime in that industry where no one who was anything like him ever wrote the rules. "American Moor" is his song to the unheard, unseen other.