July 17, 2015 |
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")
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 14, 2013 |
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.
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)
November 15, 2011 |
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.
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.
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.
June 18, 2007 |
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.
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.