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Othello

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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.
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.
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
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)
NEWS
April 30, 1992 | By Desmond Ryan, INQUIRER MOVIE CRITIC
Orson Welles' version of Othello was filmed intermittently over a three- year period and on a budget that made a shoestring a luxury. When time came to film the pivotal scene in which Iago, the consummate scheming villain, orchestrates his attempt on Cassio's life, Welles discovered that he had no money for costumes. Necessity being the mother of invention, he sent his actors back to their hotel to filch towels and sheets, and set the murder in a Turkish bath that Shakespeare somehow forgot to mention.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 14, 1993 | Inquirer staff reviews and synopses, compiled by Christopher Cornell
A restored version of a Shakespearean tragedy, and a police drama in which the casting is a tragedy, top this week's list of movies new to video. OTHELLO (1952) (Academy) $89.95. 93 minutes. Orson Welles, Michael MacLiammoir, Suzanne Cloutier. There is less of the Moor in Welles' Iagocentric reading of Shakespeare's tragedy. Welles plays Othello as a victim in this lovingly restored version of his often brilliantly cinematic and resourceful treatment of the play. The film won the grand prize at Cannes in 1952.
NEWS
January 22, 1993 | Daily News Wire Services
Orson Welles did do other things besides directing "Citizen Kane. " For instance, Welles made Othello, his "other masterpiece. " Welles started filming Shakespeare's romantic tragedy in 1949. He continued shooting it in spurts for three years, regrouping his cast here and there as he had the money. The result is no worse for the on-again, off-again shooting schedule. In fact, "Othello" (unrated, 1952, Academy, $89.95) is amazingly pristine and precise, given the odds for lost continuity, not to mention the play's inherent anguish.
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.
NEWS
July 17, 2015 | By Zoë Miller, Inquirer Staff Writer
Whether shaking up Shakespeare or nodding to Elizabethan conventions, this summer four of the region's theater companies and festivals illustrate that there's more to the Bard than anything you learned in high school. Shakespeare in Clark Park will enliven its free production of the romantic fable The Winter's Tale (July 29 to Aug. 2) with a children's chorus, original songs, and a seven-foot ursine puppet designed by Aaron Cromie, for the play's famous stage direction ("Exit, pursued by a bear")
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NEWS
July 17, 2015 | By Zoë Miller, Inquirer Staff Writer
Whether shaking up Shakespeare or nodding to Elizabethan conventions, this summer four of the region's theater companies and festivals illustrate that there's more to the Bard than anything you learned in high school. Shakespeare in Clark Park will enliven its free production of the romantic fable The Winter's Tale (July 29 to Aug. 2) with a children's chorus, original songs, and a seven-foot ursine puppet designed by Aaron Cromie, for the play's famous stage direction ("Exit, pursued by a bear")
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 14, 2013 | By Kellie Patrick Gates, For The Inquirer
Hello there Amber grew up in West Deptford, but moved to Los Angeles, then New York, where she took parts in commercials while studying for her MBA. She told friends she had no time for dating. There's always time for that, one friend said, and set up Amber's profile on PlentyofFish.com. Amber looked at profiles mainly to avoid homework. They were often humorously similar: likes movies and walks on the beach. Does not play games. Blah, blah. Then in November 2008, she read that John, an online marketer living in Monroe Township, Middlesex County, loved playing games - especially Trivial Pursuit and checkers.
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)
SPORTS
November 15, 2011 | By Michael Vitez, Inquirer Columnist
The story out of Penn State is so epic, so tragic, I wanted to know what scholars of Greek tragedy and Shakespeare had to say about it. I asked a few to ruminate on the arrest of former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky on child sexual-abuse charges, the firing of legendary football coach Joe Paterno and college president Graham Spanier for not doing enough to stop it, and the outrage of the community once the facts emerged. Here are some of the scholars' ruminations.
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.
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
June 18, 2007 | By Howard Shapiro INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Shakespeare wrote The Winter's Tale as if it were two plays, grafted to one another in the last minutes, and that's just how Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival's classy production comes off, moving through its moods like a smooth ocean wave. The dark first half is lit by Steve TenEyck in blue, and Rosemarie McKelvey's striking costumes on Bob Phillips' faux-marble stage carry that color through varying hues. The dizzy second half is yellow and orange. You sit there, pulled into the changing emotions by production's stagecraft as much as by the Bard, or the large, powerhouse cast.
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.
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