November 13, 1992
The Washington Opera's new staging of Verdi's "Otello" looks great and -- for the most part -- sounds that way, too.Zack Brown, who designed and costumed this production -- which continues in repertory until Nov. 28 -- is an artist who has a gift for expressing the monumental and doing it with such taste that it enhances, rather than deflects attention from, the music. His scenery and costumes create a version of the Italian renaissance that steps right out of the frames of pictures by Italian old masters.
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.
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.
February 8, 1992
Chicago -- The death of Jose Ferrer took away many talents contained in a small body. His short stature was what first struck me when I met him in the late 1950s. I was used to hearing that great voice's nasal booming on my phonograph, and it seemed out of scale to this body.He was the first movie star I had ever shaken hands with. The conservative columnist of the Chicago Tribune, Willard Edwards, was leading him through the old Senate Office Building, and he stopped to say hello to my companion.
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.