November 17, 2019


It’s love at first sight for Kai, a Japanese musicologist, when she spies Tyler, the only student of color in his PhD cohort, at a Shakespeare conference. Each night, while Tyler dreams he is the subject of his thesis: Ira Aldridge, the first black man to play Othello, Kai dreams of Tyler. As dreams start to merge with reality, Tyler and Kai are brought closer together. Yet Tyler, like Ira before him, can not perceive the inevitable betrayal of his closest ally. A heartfelt ode to always being the second-class genius of color, Keene is a playful riff on early-career academia, Shakespeare’s Othello, and the power of American pop. Winner of the second year of Shakespeare’s New Contemporaries (SNC).

About SNC

Shakespeare’s New Contemporaries is ASC’s  groundbreaking, industry-changng undertaking that is discovering, developing, and producing a new canon of 38 plays that are inspired by and in conversation with Shakespeare’s work.

An SNC Staged Reading is a theatrical experience where an early draft of a new play in response to Shakespeare is read aloud by actors, with scripts in their hands; these presentations (sometimes at music stands, sometimes with rehearsal cubes or minimal staging) offer audiences a glimpse into the playwriting process and give playwrights and artists the opportunity to evaluate the play’s strengths and weaknesses before it is subject to the additional pressures and scrutiny that a full production brings. The knowledge gained from our staged readings will directly impact rewrites and preparation for our upcoming SNC productions.