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By J. Wynn Rousuck and J. Wynn Rousuck,SUN THEATER CRITIC | November 19, 1997
Using a concept devised by lead actor Patrick Stewart, the radical interpretation of "Othello" at Washington's Shakespeare Theatre flips the racial makeup of the cast, posing a white Othello opposite an almost entirely African-American company.Described by director Jude Kelly as a "photo negative," this rethinking is one of several bold and largely successful choices in a production that also features an increased emphasis on abuse against women. Combined with Stewart's strong showing in the title role, this "Othello" would be a landmark if it weren't marred by a weak co-star.
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By MARY JOHNSON and MARY JOHNSON,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | September 30, 2005
The idea for presenting Othello at St. John's College in Annapolis started in a series of conversations among tutors and students with a strong interest in theater. William Shakespeare's domestic tragedy is "particularly action oriented about the character Iago, who never met a man who knew how to love himself," said senior Brian Jones, a first-time director. "That's what the play is about." Angry that Moor warrior Othello chose Cassio over him as his lieutenant, Iago propels the action by manipulating character against character.
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By J. Wynn Rousuck and J. Wynn Rousuck,Sun Theater Critic | February 18, 1994
Of Shakespeare's plays, "Othello," with its themes of love, jealousy, lust, betrayal and bigotry, probably hits the most nerves. At Center Stage, director Irene Lewis' production strips those nerves raw.There are several reasons for the production's gut-wrenching effect, beginning with Stephen Markle's relentlessly chilling performance as Iago. In this production, set in the 1950s with the military portrayed as Marines, Markle's Iago is the type of gritty career soldier who excels in war. In peacetime, he is at such a loss that he instigates a battle simply because it's the only way he knows how to function.
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By J. Wynn Rousuck and J. Wynn Rousuck,SUN THEATER CRITIC | September 8, 2005
Washington's Shakespeare Theatre Company has produced Othello three times in the past 15 years. What the theater hasn't done with Shakespeare's tale of racism, jealousy and betrayal is cast it traditionally - until now. In 1997, Othello was played by a white actor (Patrick Stewart) and the rest of the cast was black; in 1990, Othello and villainous Iago were both played by black actors (Avery Brooks and Andre Braugher, respectively). This time around, Brooks is reprising the title role, but as is standard modern practice, Iago is played by a white actor (Patrick Page)
ENTERTAINMENT
By Mary Carole McCauley and Mary Carole McCauley,SUN ARTS WRITER | September 1, 2005
Actors such as Patrick Page, actors who portray the greatest villains in history and literature, walk a taut and treacherous tightrope. To convincingly portray a man as evil as Iago in Shakespeare's Othello, more is required than merely memorizing lines and showing up at rehearsals. More is required than boning up on the development and motivation of psychopaths, though Page has done all of that. More is required, even, than identifying and empathizing with this most cunning deceiver and betrayer.
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By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,SUN STAFF | January 19, 1996
It's no accident that the four cinematic treatments of Shakespeare that purists love most are Grigori Kozintsev's Russian-language "Hamlet" and "King Lear," and Akira Kurosawa's Japanese fantasias on "Lear" ("Ran") and "Macbeth" Throne of Blood").Without Shakespeare's sacred, inviolable text, we can enjoy these movies without comparisons to the originals. Even the finest English-language film treatments -- Olivier's "Henry V," "Richard III" and "Othello" -- have been subject to mean-spirited quibbling from the Shakespearean Comintern.
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By J. Wynn Rousuck | December 5, 1990
Washington---As recently as Paul Robeson's day, it was considered daring to cast a black actor in the title role of Shakespeare's "Othello." That practice is virtually the norm today. But at the Shakespeare Theatre at the Folger, director Harold Scott has added another twist -- he has also cast a black actor as Iago, the trusted ensign who incites the Moor's fatal jealousy.It is an inspired choice, and not merely because of Andre Braugher's carefully calculated performance as Iago. One problem with this great tragedy is that it's difficult to understand why Iago succeeds so rapidly in convincing Othello -- a military general who is presumably a good judge of character -- that his young Venetian bride, Desdemona, has been unfaithful.
FEATURES
By J. Wynn Rousuck and J. Wynn Rousuck,SUN THEATER CRITIC | October 8, 2003
The Baltimore Shakespeare Festival has inaugurated its new home, a church, with a play that besmirches much that is holy. This contrast between setting and subject matter sharply heightens the conflict between goodness and evil, innocence and corruption, that is at the core of one of Shakespeare's greatest tragedies, Othello. Besides introducing its permanent home in Hampden, the production also marks another significant turning point for the company - its first major contract with Actors' Equity, the professional actors' union, since the festival nearly foundered in 1998.
NEWS
By MARY JOHNSON and MARY JOHNSON,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | September 30, 2005
The idea for presenting Othello at St. John's College in Annapolis started in a series of conversations among tutors and students with a strong interest in theater. William Shakespeare's domestic tragedy is "particularly action oriented about the character Iago, who never met a man who knew how to love himself," said senior Brian Jones, a first-time director. "That's what the play is about." Angry that Moor warrior Othello chose Cassio over him as his lieutenant, Iago propels the action by manipulating character against character.
ENTERTAINMENT
By J. Wynn Rousuck and J. Wynn Rousuck,Theater Critic | July 10, 1992
At the beginning of Shakespeare on Wheels' production of "Othello," the actors introduce themselves to the audience and say a few words about their characters. It's a user-friendly approach to Shakespeare, and it is typical of this highly accessible User-friendliness is especially important since Shakespeare on Wheels, the University of Maryland Baltimore County's traveling theater, performs everywhere from parks to prisons and frequently serves as an introduction to the Bard for children and adults alike.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Mary Carole McCauley and Mary Carole McCauley,SUN ARTS WRITER | September 1, 2005
Actors such as Patrick Page, actors who portray the greatest villains in history and literature, walk a taut and treacherous tightrope. To convincingly portray a man as evil as Iago in Shakespeare's Othello, more is required than merely memorizing lines and showing up at rehearsals. More is required than boning up on the development and motivation of psychopaths, though Page has done all of that. More is required, even, than identifying and empathizing with this most cunning deceiver and betrayer.
FEATURES
By J. Wynn Rousuck and J. Wynn Rousuck,SUN THEATER CRITIC | October 8, 2003
The Baltimore Shakespeare Festival has inaugurated its new home, a church, with a play that besmirches much that is holy. This contrast between setting and subject matter sharply heightens the conflict between goodness and evil, innocence and corruption, that is at the core of one of Shakespeare's greatest tragedies, Othello. Besides introducing its permanent home in Hampden, the production also marks another significant turning point for the company - its first major contract with Actors' Equity, the professional actors' union, since the festival nearly foundered in 1998.
ENTERTAINMENT
By J. Wynn Rousuck and J. Wynn Rousuck,SUN THEATER CRITIC | October 2, 2003
This is the story of a genuine good guy who unexpectedly wound up playing one of the most sinister villains in dramatic literature. James Kinstle, artistic director of the Baltimore Shakespeare Festival, thought he had his hands full with tomorrow's opening of the festival's new home in St. Mary's Outreach Center in Hampden. Then he lost the actor cast as Iago in the theater's production of Othello. Two weeks into the four-week rehearsal period, actor Michael Gabel left to take a role in John Waters' new movie, A Dirty Shame.
FEATURES
By J. Wynn Rousuck and J. Wynn Rousuck,SUN THEATER CRITIC | November 19, 1997
Using a concept devised by lead actor Patrick Stewart, the radical interpretation of "Othello" at Washington's Shakespeare Theatre flips the racial makeup of the cast, posing a white Othello opposite an almost entirely African-American company.Described by director Jude Kelly as a "photo negative," this rethinking is one of several bold and largely successful choices in a production that also features an increased emphasis on abuse against women. Combined with Stewart's strong showing in the title role, this "Othello" would be a landmark if it weren't marred by a weak co-star.
NEWS
By Neil A. Grauer | October 21, 1996
"THIS IS MY ONE chance of immortality,'' said the aging but still legendary Sarah Bernhardt when she agreed in 1912 to make a silent movie of her play, ''Queen Elizabeth.'' Aged 68, hobbled by a wooden leg, Bernhardt believed that capturing her performance on film would ensure her legacy for posterity.Bernhardt's example persuaded the then renowned but now largely forgotten Shakespearean actor, Frederick Warde, to go before the cameras that same year in ''Richard III.'' With the recent, astonishing discovery of a nearly perfect print of this long-lost movie -- the oldest surviving American four-reel feature film -- modern audiences will glimpse the dramatic skills of a man who honed his craft with some of the finest performers of the 19th century, including the great tragedian Edwin Booth, with whom Warde first performed at Baltimore's fabled Ford's Theatre 120 years ago.Warde was born in England in 1851 and made his stage debut in ''Macbeth'' at the age of 16. He became a young friend and protege of Henry Irving, whose subsequent achievement on the stage earned him the first knighthood ever bestowed on an actor and burial in Westminster Abbey.
FEATURES
By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,SUN STAFF | January 19, 1996
It's no accident that the four cinematic treatments of Shakespeare that purists love most are Grigori Kozintsev's Russian-language "Hamlet" and "King Lear," and Akira Kurosawa's Japanese fantasias on "Lear" ("Ran") and "Macbeth" Throne of Blood").Without Shakespeare's sacred, inviolable text, we can enjoy these movies without comparisons to the originals. Even the finest English-language film treatments -- Olivier's "Henry V," "Richard III" and "Othello" -- have been subject to mean-spirited quibbling from the Shakespearean Comintern.
NEWS
By TIM BAKER | February 21, 1994
Imagine for a moment that you'd never seen or read Shakespeare's ''Othello.'' You don't know the plot or how the play ends. You decide to go see it at Center Stage, where it's running through March 20th. You settle into your seat. The theater lights dim.Dark night falls. A lamp flickers and reveals the villainous Iago. He's set out to destroy his proud and noble commander, the black Moor Othello, who has just wed the fair Desdemona.As the play unfolds, you watch Iago's relentless assault on the unsuspecting Othello's exposed vulnerability: the unexpected joy he has found in the love of his young bride.
NEWS
By Charlotte Moler and Charlotte Moler,Contributing Writer | August 9, 1992
Shakespeare On Wheels screeched into town recently, carrying a heavy cargo of lies, jealousy, murder and revenge. During its two-day occupation in Havre de Grace, this rowdy group of Italians got drunk, stabbed each other, hurled racist remarks and slapped their wives around. Tragedy ensued -- "Othello, the Moor of Venice," to be precise.This ambitious young troupe is the eighth incarnation of Shakespeare on Wheels, a project of the Theater Department of the University of Maryland Baltimore County.
NEWS
By TIM BAKER | February 21, 1994
Imagine for a moment that you'd never seen or read Shakespeare's ''Othello.'' You don't know the plot or how the play ends. You decide to go see it at Center Stage, where it's running through March 20th. You settle into your seat. The theater lights dim.Dark night falls. A lamp flickers and reveals the villainous Iago. He's set out to destroy his proud and noble commander, the black Moor Othello, who has just wed the fair Desdemona.As the play unfolds, you watch Iago's relentless assault on the unsuspecting Othello's exposed vulnerability: the unexpected joy he has found in the love of his young bride.
ENTERTAINMENT
By J. Wynn Rousuck and J. Wynn Rousuck,Sun Theater Critic | February 18, 1994
Of Shakespeare's plays, "Othello," with its themes of love, jealousy, lust, betrayal and bigotry, probably hits the most nerves. At Center Stage, director Irene Lewis' production strips those nerves raw.There are several reasons for the production's gut-wrenching effect, beginning with Stephen Markle's relentlessly chilling performance as Iago. In this production, set in the 1950s with the military portrayed as Marines, Markle's Iago is the type of gritty career soldier who excels in war. In peacetime, he is at such a loss that he instigates a battle simply because it's the only way he knows how to function.
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