I am addressing the decision to cancel the opening of Othello, reluctantly, as we all still feel great pain about it. I believe all of us… director, actors, producers, designers, crew etc. worked extraordinarily hard and in good faith to create a terrific production of Othello. It just didn’t work and the production simply ran out of time and money.
Othello was jointly cancelled by myself and the co-producers at New American Theatre. To be perfectly frank we couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel by the time we hit Invitational Dresses last weekend. It’s been more than 25 years and over 150 productions since the OTE actually pulled the plug on a production! And, believe me, it wasn’t done easily or cavalierly.
Regarding financial losses – the actors will not be getting the stipends they would have been getting had we opened and that is sad. And the Odyssey/New American Theatre must somehow now eat a great loss in hard production costs (set, costumes, props, lights, construction crew, hanging crew, photography, billboards, posters, web design etc). as well as facility costs, staff and overhead, for over three 3 months of complete theatre darkness. That’s a huge gulp for which succeeding OTE productions will suffer significantly reduced budgets in order to slowly absorb that unbelievable and unpredictable loss.
Another loss is that of time and emotional commitment. I very much appreciate the emotions of actors who have worked 8 weeks on something with great dedication, something that evaporated. The producers have, also, spent at least an equal amount of time for many weeks before rehearsals ever began.
Another loss is the credibility of the Odyssey’s long cultivated audience and the critics, as we now bear the brunt of disappointment, dissatisfaction and even anger, as we cancel a production which they were promised. Canceling was not an easy decision, nor a quickly taken one, by any means.
Good intentions all around, but many hurdles and it just didn’t come together in the end. We had insufficient time to really ready this highly ambitious production. My apologies to all involved, but I don’t know what really could have been done very differently in the circumstances. The stars were simply not with us.