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Award-winning play ‘American Moor’ set for UW-Stevens Point

August 31, 2022
Keith Hamilton Cobb, actor and playwright
Keith Hamilton Cobb, an actor and playwright, will do readings of his award-winning play, “American Moor” on Friday, Sept. 16.

A performance featuring a stage and screen actor at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point aims to explore diversity and awareness of inclusivity.

Keith Hamilton Cobb, an actor and playwright, will do readings of his award-winning play, “American Moor,” on Friday, Sept. 16. A 7 p.m. performance will be open to the community at no charge. No tickets are needed for the reading in Jenkins Theatre of the Noel Fine Arts Center. An afternoon performance will be for high school students, including several visiting from the Milwaukee area. 

Following each performance will be a conversation between Cobb and the audience to better understand diversity, inclusivity and social justice in our communities.

The thought-provoking play “American Moor” explores the perspective of the African American male through the metaphor of Shakespeare’s character Othello. It ran off-Broadway in 2019 and is part of the permanent collection of the Folger Shakespeare Library. 

Cobb will meet with UW-Stevens Point students in various classes that week, using Othello to discuss diversity and social justice in the entertainment industry and society.

The Keith Hamilton Cobb Project is a collaboration among the Department of Theatre and Dance, other UW-Stevens Point departments, Noel Family Foundation, Noel Compass Scholarship Program and Create Portage County. This is one of several programs to increase understanding of diversity, inclusivity and societal fairness in central Wisconsin.

“’American Moor’ is a play about race in America. It is a play that recontextualizes Shakespeare to reveal important cultural inequities of contemporary American life. Mr. Cobb’s reimagining raises questions about who gets to play Shakespeare and about whose lives and perspectives matter,” said Michael Estanich, Theatre and Dance Department chair at UW-Stevens Point. “Keith Hamilton Cobb brings an extraordinary voice to a complex conversation.”

Conversations at the end of each performance will focus on solutions to ensure benefits and opportunities that exist on our campus and in our community are afforded to all its members, said Scott West, retired Admissions counselor who helped plan the project.

“In addition to being entertained, our goal is for everyone to be more thoughtful about the diversity and equality in our community, self-aware of our own individuality and responsibility, prepared to embrace the uniqueness of all people, and ready to advance racial equity and inclusion in meaningful and constructive ways for all of us,” West said. 

The evening post-performance discussion will be led by Lisa Sanderson, lecturer for musical theatre and fellow at the UW-Stevens Point Center for Inclusive Teaching and Learning. Gigi Stahl, Stevens Point School District diversity specialist, will lead the student conversation. 

In addition to being a stage actor, Cobb has portrayed several TV characters. He was a ruthless mercenary in the science-fiction series,” Andromeda,” from 2000 to 2005 and played characters on the Beastmaster series, “All My Children” and “The Young and the Restless.” Cobb is the director of The Untitled Othello Project.