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.
February 25, 2015 |
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)
March 15, 2013 |
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.
March 6, 2013 |
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.
October 15, 2012 |
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)
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.
August 5, 2008 |
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.
April 4, 2008 |
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.
March 26, 2007 |
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.
July 19, 2006 |
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.