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Iago

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NEWS
October 9, 2002 | By Desmond Ryan INQUIRER THEATER CRITIC
In the rogues' gallery of Shakespeare's villains, Iago stands apart. When measured against such unredeemed and unconscionable vileness, Richard III comes across as merely ambitious and Lady Macbeth seems a veritable Mother Teresa. Iago not only oversees the action of Othello. He can quite easily overwhelm it with his manipulation and malice, and he presents a director and his cast with both a problem of balance and an opportunity. For, as Harold Bloom remarks in Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human, this is "Othello's tragedy but Iago's play.
NEWS
December 29, 1995 | by Gary Thompson, Daily News Movie Critic
Maybe it's time to reconsider Othello's rank as one of Shakespeare's most compelling tragic heroes. The man's tragic flaw was not his jealousy, the green-eyed monster that leads him to kill Desdemona. No, Othello's real tragic flaw is his gullibility. He's credulous, easily manipulated and apparently not too bright - the Baby Huey of Shakespeare. That makes him an easy mark for a wicked operator like Iago, really the only interesting character in the play, which is undoubtedly why Kenneth Branagh snapped up the part for this new version, featuring Laurence Fishburne as the Moor of Venice.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 19, 1994 | By Julia M. Klein, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
It's the middle of a long rehearsal, two weeks to go before opening night. The Othello ensemble is struggling with Shakespeare's poetry and director Mary B. Robinson's blocking. In this scene, they're jousting with real swords, groaning with imaginary pain and spitting out Tic-Tacs for teeth. At the center of it all, bearded and casual in black jeans and a black T- shirt, alternately tense and relaxed, Campbell Scott is trying to find his way into not-so-"honest Iago. " One of the Bard's most eloquent creations, Iago uses language itself as a snare; admired by others, he is an emblem of false appearances, a master of honeyed words and hypocrisy.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 25, 2015 | By Wendy Rosenfield, For The Inquirer
I will never, ever stop being amazed by the endless directorial interpretations of Othello . I've lost count of how many I've seen, but Curio Theatre Company's new production, directed by Dan Hodge, is the latest, and once again, it teases out new (to me) angles in Shakespeare's 400-year-old script. Here, Hodge, with the help of Brian McCann, presents the lighter side of Iago. Far from the Machiavellian sociopath we've come to know and loathe, McCann's Iago is a frustrated, low-level schemer, little better than poor, doomed Roderigo (Paul Kuhn)
ENTERTAINMENT
April 24, 1992 | By Douglas J. Keating, INQUIRER THEATER CRITIC
Shakespeare's tragedy is called Othello, but there wouldn't be a play without Iago. The malign adviser who maneuvers Othello to his doom has more lines than the title character, and his sour cunning drives the plot. While Michael John McGuinness' Iago eventually proves to be a convincing villain in the Philadelphia Area Repertory Theatre production directed by Paul Wagar, his portrayal gets off to a shaky start in a scene that misleads the audience as to the nature of the character.
NEWS
April 24, 1992 | by David Kronke, Los Angeles Daily News
Given the ordeals the late Orson Welles had to endure to complete "Othello," it seems almost cruel to point out minor flaws that were likely more a function of budgetary and other constraints than any visionary shortcomings. As striking as it is, it's not one of Welles' best, and of his Shakespearean adaptations, it ranks above "Macbeth" but just beneath "Chimes at Midnight. " It boasts plenty of moments of brilliance and Welles' unmistakable visual style. At just over 90 minutes, it's virtually a Cliff Notes version of Shakespeare's tragedy.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 29, 1995 | By Desmond Ryan, INQUIRER MOVIE CRITIC
As he spins his web of treachery and murder in Othello, Iago holds up his dagger, which catches the blurred image of his despised rival Cassio reflected on the flat of the blade. The moment aptly mirrors a sharply honed and visually provocative approach to Shakespeare's most intimate tragedy. Director Oliver Parker has cut the text of Othello to the bone, and the gain in propulsive power makes a strong case for his argument that less is Moor. This radically pared reading of the play discards about half the text in the name of making an unabashedly cinematic, supercharged and erotic presentation of Othello.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 24, 1992 | By Desmond Ryan, INQUIRER MOVIE CRITIC
When he embarked on his film of Shakespeare's Othello in 1949, Orson Welles decided we should see less of the Moor in two senses: Long stretches of the text were ejected, and the emphasis of what was left shifted the dramatic weight from Othello to Iago. The second and easily the best of Welles' erratic plunges into Shakespeare - the others were an eccentric Macbeth (1948) and Chimes at Midnight (1966), a portrait of Falstaff culled from several plays - Othello suffered a fate as tragic as its hero.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 4, 2008 | By Wendy Rosenfield FOR THE INQUIRER
Any director worth his/her tragic weight knows that in order to have a successful Othello, you have to pair him with an equally dynamic Iago. So if it makes your mouth water to hear that Lantern Theater's Charles McMahon has plucked two Philly favorites - Frank X and Peter Pryor - to fill the roles in the current production of Othello, you should also know you're in good company. The run was extended before the show even officially opened. Both actors have previously taken on Shakespeare at Lantern in Barrymore-worthy turns: X was nominated for the award for his portrayal of King Lear, and Pryor won it for his Richard III. So surprise, surprise, the pair tear up the stage like the pros they are. Pryor has a blast from his opening sneer to his final psychopathic chuckle, when ordered to behold the bloody mess he's caused.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 22, 1994 | By Clifford A. Ridley, INQUIRER THEATER CRITIC
It is a cheerless, threatening, shut-off world that director Mary B. Robinson lays before us in the Othello now on view at the Zellerbach Theatre, the final production in the Philadelphia Drama Guild-Annenberg Center's 1993-94 season. Allen Moyer's decor is all walls - a stage-high enclosure at the back, plus forbidding barriers sliding in and out from the wings. It's a place for furtive conversations and back-alley betrayals, a place where noble ideals and simple trust don't stand a chance.
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NEWS
February 3, 2016
By Steve Lewis The similarities will seize you by the throat. In Shakespeare's Othello , we are presented with a warrior of impeccable grace, courage, and character who murders his wife. Nearly 400 years later, we would bear televised witness to an athlete-warrior of publicly impeccable grace, courage, and character who (everyone but the jury agrees) murders his wife. Othello, a Moorish general in the Venetian army, was married to a beautiful, fair-skinned woman considerably younger than he was. In time, he grew violently jealous, a powerful weakness of character for one who had earned such a noble and strong reputation.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 25, 2015 | By Wendy Rosenfield, For The Inquirer
I will never, ever stop being amazed by the endless directorial interpretations of Othello . I've lost count of how many I've seen, but Curio Theatre Company's new production, directed by Dan Hodge, is the latest, and once again, it teases out new (to me) angles in Shakespeare's 400-year-old script. Here, Hodge, with the help of Brian McCann, presents the lighter side of Iago. Far from the Machiavellian sociopath we've come to know and loathe, McCann's Iago is a frustrated, low-level schemer, little better than poor, doomed Roderigo (Paul Kuhn)
ENTERTAINMENT
March 15, 2013 | By Wendy Rosenfield, For The Inquirer
There's something different about Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre's Othello , and it's not because director Carmen Kahn sets the tragedy in outer space or the Jazz Age. Visually, this is a by-the-book production, with simple, Renaissance-era costumes and set design. But it muddies the usual focus on racial issues, and zooms in on Iago's dark heart and mind. Of course, the slurs remain. Iago calls Othello a "Barbary horse" or an "old black ram. " But these feel perfunctory. Usually, Othello, here played by Forrest McClendon, is the sole representative of a minority group onstage.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 6, 2013 | By Tirdad Derakhshani, Inquirer Staff Writer
Waaah!!! Jon Stewart is leaving The Daily Show at Comedy Central - for a couple of months. He'll produce and direct a flick titled Rosewater , about an Iranian journalist's incarceration by the government. Longtime Daily Show stalwart John Oliver will sit in for Stew for the eight weeks he'll be off. Carly to Scouts: Call me never! Carly Rae Jepsen , the Canadian cantadora of last year's bajillion-selling "Call Me Maybe," is slappin' the Boy Scouts of America.
NEWS
October 15, 2012 | By Jim Rutter, For The Inquirer
Women in Shakespeare's day weren't allowed to perform on stage. In Quintessence's production of the Bard's Othello , director Alexander Burns won't let them play, either. At first glance, it seems an odd choice. The central plot revolves around Iago (Josh Carpenter), an ensign passed over for promotion by his Moorish general, Othello (Khris Davis), in favor of pretty-boy academic Cassio (Daniel Fredrick). Othello's marriage to the fair Desdemona (an excellent Ross Bennett Hurwitz)
NEWS
June 6, 2010
By Nell Irvin Painter W.W. Norton, 496 pp., $27.95. Reviewed by Alan Nadel   'Ocular proof' - Othello demanded but never received it from Iago, accepting instead the circumstantial evidence of a purloined handkerchief. Ironically, part of the play's tragedy is that Iago felt that he, not Othello, had incriminating visual evidence: the color of Othello's skin. In The History of White People , Nell Irvin Painter stunningly chronicles the logic of ocular proof that has rendered complexion a form of evidence inextricably linked to historically convenient notions of race.
NEWS
August 5, 2008 | By Wendy Rosenfield FOR THE INQUIRER
Most people who know Peter Pryor's name associate him with challenging dramatic roles - his 2006 Barrymore-winning turn as Shakespeare's Richard III, or his Iago in last season's Othello, both at Lantern Theater. But Pryor, 40, tackles plenty of offstage challenges, too. His latest role is formidable: He's leading Act II Playhouse's nascent Stages program, a six-week pilot effort by the Ambler theater to engage a half-dozen children - all with some form of pervasive developmental disorder, or autism - in dramatic play for 90 minutes on six consecutive summer Saturdays.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 4, 2008 | By Wendy Rosenfield FOR THE INQUIRER
Any director worth his/her tragic weight knows that in order to have a successful Othello, you have to pair him with an equally dynamic Iago. So if it makes your mouth water to hear that Lantern Theater's Charles McMahon has plucked two Philly favorites - Frank X and Peter Pryor - to fill the roles in the current production of Othello, you should also know you're in good company. The run was extended before the show even officially opened. Both actors have previously taken on Shakespeare at Lantern in Barrymore-worthy turns: X was nominated for the award for his portrayal of King Lear, and Pryor won it for his Richard III. So surprise, surprise, the pair tear up the stage like the pros they are. Pryor has a blast from his opening sneer to his final psychopathic chuckle, when ordered to behold the bloody mess he's caused.
NEWS
March 26, 2007 | By Howard Shapiro INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
In Hamlet, Shakespeare tells us that "the play's the thing," and he could be referencing Carmen Khan's peeled-back production of Othello, which opened the Philadelphia Shakespeare Festival's 10th season Friday night. The scenery is four large flat-topped trucks. A simple stage-rear entry is black. Everyone's dressed in a dull form of standard modern, more or less. So a sort of naked focus turns your attention almost entirely to the play. I saw a preview Thursday, and during the first half-hour or so, that focus was a liability; this Othello was stilted, with all the hoo-hah surrounding the Moor of Venice threatening to represent the bore of Venice.
NEWS
July 19, 2006 | By Howard Shapiro INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
The Othello being presented at the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival is everything you want in Othello - and everything a Shakespeare festival should be able to give you. It's sexy, and laced with a sense of dread, and the Bard's passionate script rolls easily through the theater at DeSales University, near Quakertown. Just about everything in Fontaine Syer's production comes without asking an audience to work along, which says to me that it was painstakingly assembled. All the more exciting, then, that this is not messed-with Shakespeare; it's still set in Venice and on Crete, and no one tries to play Othello in 21st-century clothing or make any posthumous points for the author.
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