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September 15, 1987| Arts and entertainment reports from The Times, national and international news services and the nation's press

For the first time in South Africa, a black will play the title role in Shakespeare's "Othello." South African actress Janet Suzman is directing John Kani in the role for the professional production staged in Johannesburg. It is Suzman's debut as a director and the first Shakespearean part for Kani, a 1976 Tony Award winner for his Broadway role in Athol Fugard's "Sizwe Banzi Is Dead." "Othello" opens Wednesday at the Market Theater, which since its founding in 1976 has been a showcase for multiracial drama in South Africa. Johannesburg-born Suzman lives in London and is related to Helen Suzman, a longtime member of South Africa's Parliament and an outspoken foe of apartheid.

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