General Othello, meet President Eisenhower. By setting Shakespeare's tragic tale of jealousy and betrayal in the 1950s, Center Stage artistic director Irene Lewis aligned the play with an era when bigotry was often taken for granted and when the Cold War could have left a military man like Iago at a loss. Stephen Markle's Iago was so chilling, however, he probably could have brought this scheming villain to life in any era.
Honey, I shrunk the play. Returning to the less-is-more theory, two Washington theaters performed masterful acts of concision. the Shakespeare Theatre, artistic director Michael Kahn abridged Shakespeare's two-part "Henry IV" into a single evening, using Part 2 to expand and illuminate Part 1's themes of loyalty, justice and responsibility. A few weeks later, Derek Walcott's "Odyssey" had its American premiere at Arena Stage. Walcott's West-Indian-flavored adaptation of Homer was as ancient as classical Greece and as modern as science fiction.