Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Othello, Artist Repertory Theatre (F)

Director Jon Kretzu
Author: William Shakespeare

Othello   .....   Victor Morris
Desdemona   .....   Amaya Villazan
Iago   .....   Todd Van Voris
Emila   .....   Sarah Lucht
Brabantio / Lodovico   .....   Michael Mendelson
Roderigo   .....   Alec Wilson
Duke of Venice / Gratiano / Montano   .....   Nathan Dunkin
Bianca   .....   KB Mercer
Cassio   .....   JJ Johnson

sez says: we left at intermission. We've seen a variety of productions--on film and stage--of Othello.  It is one of my favorite's from The Bard.  This production might have been ok but it has a couple fatal flaws. The first and most deadly was, you could not hear some of the actors. In particular this was a problem for the central character Iago played by Van Voris (whom we generally love).  He spoke in a conversational voice that did not carry well. We literally could not hear a quarter (or more) of what he was saying.  But it was true of some of the others too. (With one exception, and that was Michael Mendelson, who did a great, and believable job in the role of Desdemona's father)   Add the desperate struggle to hear to the second problem, which was that much--maybe most--of the action was played to the center--so the audience on the side could seldom see the actor's faces.  Without visual cues (combined with not being able to hear the the dialogue clearly) the production went murky. I know the story--but if I didn't, I speculate I would have had no idea what was happening. I am sorry to have missed the second half to see how Morris played Othello's decline into the dark waters of jealousy--but the first half was too difficult.

mjc says:  this was a real disappointment, I was looking forward to a refreshing look at this classic.  I have been to enough Shakspeare to know that you need to give your brain a chance to let the language--its rhythm and archaic usages--a chance to click in.  I could not hear well enough, or see the actors well enough, to get up to speed.  The whole thing escaped me and I am so trained up to stay for the whole show it is a demonstration of how disconnected I was that when given the choice of staying or leaving I voted with my feet.  (Grade F)

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