O’Kane Theatre Presents: Shakespeare and Pinter—With a Gator Twist!
By Hayden Bergman
“Bait the hook well; this fish will bite,” Claudio says in Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing.
True for his friend in the play, Benedick, and true, too, for those in the campus community and Downtown Houston, as the O’Kane Theatre will put on a production of the Bard’s famous comedy this fall. So, bite, ye fish, and come see a rendering of Shakespeare’s play of secrets, deception, and love, all with a UHD twist.
The eight performances from November 9 through 18 will all take place on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. There are also 1:30 p.m. matinees on Wednesday and Friday during that time.
And while the play is set in Italy (in Messina on the island of Sicily, to be exact), the O’Kane Theatre staff and Interim Director Luke Fedell will change that to colonial Mexico, an approach that works to decolonize the literature canon as well as engage with the Hispanic heritage that many UHD students share.
Fedell said that while the production will maintain Shakespeare’s language and engagement with universal issues, making adjustments to engage with Gator cultural concerns is vital. “My approach is student-based,” he said. “I’ve always been a proprietor of asking ‘What are our students interested in? What can our students relate to? What’s going on in our world that affects our students’ lives the most?'" Such probing questions led to the change in setting and will in turn lead to a rousing night at the theatre.
The other set of productions is titled “Unpersons: An Evening with Harold Pinter.” The eight performances run from March 28 to April 6 (with the same scheduling as the Shakespeare play) and encompass three plays by the English playwright Pinter that revolve around a common theme.
Pinter’s plays often place an emphasis on the relationships and dialogue between characters as opposed to plot, as well as on the ways in which characters communicate through pauses (hence the term “Pinter pause”) as opposed to dialogue.
During the 2005 ceremony awarding Pinter the Nobel Prize in Literature, it was noted that Pinter had “perforated conventionally realistic drama with taciturnity’s mystery” and had “equipped his overblown figures with so many outlets that we can live with the characters and see them age and decay as we do … They send messages that never seem to arrive, yet we leave the theatre less righteous than on entering.”
So, please, come to the O’Kane Theatre to see our Gators tussle with such mysteries.
Between that and the Shakespeare productions, no doubt theatregoers will leave perhaps not righteous, but certainly entertained.
Photo credit: © Jones/Stringer/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is the second-largest university in Houston and has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974. As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive, four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates approximately 14,000 students, boasts more than 66,000 alumni, and offers 45 bachelor’s degrees, 12 master’s degrees, and 19 online programs within four colleges: Marilyn Davies College of Business, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Public Service, and College of Sciences and Technology. UHD has one of the lowest tuition rates in Texas.
U.S. News and World Report ranked UHD among the nation’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Applied Administration and Best Online Master’s Programs in Criminal Justice, as well as a Top Performer in Social Mobility. The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse ranked UHD one of the best colleges in the U.S. for its 2024 rankings, with notable distinctions: No. 1 for diversity (tied) and No. 3 for student experience. The University is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, a Minority-Serving Institution, and a Military Friendly School. For more information on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit uhd.edu.