All the world’s a stage: Solo play ‘American Moor’ explores the inner life of a black man


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In our first-ever podcast, I sat down at Newark’s Alva Tavern in late March to discuss the solo play American Moor with the man who authored it and is currently performing it, Keith Hamilton Cobb.

Some might know Daytime Emmy-nominated Cobb from his roles on shows like All My Children and Andromeda, but Cobb has been interested in, studied, and intensively trained in many aspects of performance art since his youth. Cobb brought many of those talents to bear on his solo play, which will open for a 12-show run in New York City at the The Wild Project starting April 21.

American Moor explores the inner life of a black man auditioning for Shakespeare’s Othello, and in the process unpacks themes of race, theater craft, and the human complexity black men are often asked to sand down for audiences who don’t understand them.

Cobb drew the script from his experience auditioning for another Shakespeare play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and being denied the opportunity to act out the complex angles of a character he knew very well. Seeing that as a metaphor for how we’re all often asked to “perform” in our actual lives, Cobb wrote American Moor. Like A Midsummer Night’s Dream, it’s something of a play within a play, with Cobb delivering lines from Othello, but in the modern context of a working actor fighting for a role.

During our conversation, we discussed his play and the contemporary themes around race and identity in America it addresses, his appraisal of his career to date, his creative aspirations in a world where new media platforms open up exciting possibilities, and black actors’ place within the modern Hollywood scene.


Purchase tickets for American Moor
Visit our location sponsor, Alva Tavern

April 4, 2015: This podcast has been edited and condensed from its original version