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Othello

a Play
CATEGORY : DRAMA
by William Shakespeare

COMPANY : The New American Shakespeare Tavern [WEBSITE]
VENUE : The New American Shakespeare Tavern [WEBSITE]
ID# 450

SHOWING : April 12, 2002 - May 19, 2002

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION


CAST & CREW LIST
Director Jeff Watkins
Emilia Laura Cole
Montano Zach Dietrich
Cassio Peter Hauenstein
Lodovico Luis Hernandez
Messenger, Attendant, Servant #2 Rick Jackson
Brabantio Doug Kaye
Desdemona Caroline Masclet
Roderigo Maurice Ralston
Iago Drew Reeves
Othello Myron West
Gratiano Troy Willis
Bianca Lily Yancey
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REVIEWS

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Fatal Flaw
by Dedalus
Monday, May 13, 2002
1.0
In the interest of full disclosure, I have to confess that I walked out of this production at the first intermission, something I rarely do, especially at the Shakespeare Tavern.

Under normal circumstances, this would warrant a score of "0." But, in this case, there were several things I liked about the production, and one "fatal flaw" which drove me from the audience.

First, as expected, Maurice Ralston and Laura Cole turned in the exciting performances I've come to expect from them. Also, Doug Kaye as Brabantio, Troy Willis as the Duke, and Luis Hernandez as a senator gave performances that were original and compelling and gave the faint promise that things would improve as the evening progressed. And, in the title role, Myron West was a commanding presence, filled with the life and love needed for the Moor, and sporting a faint African accent underscoring his "alienness." He did have a tendency to fall into the "Reciter's Syndrome" -- that is, dropping his voice at the ends of sentences and lines -- but this was not enough to ruin his performance. And I did not at all like the Desdemona of Caroline Masclet, who seemed to deliver her lines flatly facing front, engaging the back of the house rather than the audience -- again, this was not enought to make me walk out.

The fatal flaw of this production, in my eyes, was Drew Reeves' Iago. First, I believe he made an unfortunate choice in playing Iago as if he were the villain in a Victorian melodrama -- I half-expected him to "twirl his mustache" on occasion. Even when trying to convince Othello of his friendship, his voice was filled with malice and he wore his sneer is if it were painted on. I see this is an unfortunate choice because Iago needs to be convincing to Othello and to everyone else. Iago needs to charm, needs to "woo," needs to convince, or his whole plot falls apart. Mr. Reeves was none of these.

But, Mr. Reeves' interpretation can be texturally supported, and there is a history of too-too villainous Iagos. What was more damaging was his delivery. Mr. Reeve's voice hardly varied in pitch, volume, or pace. His first monologue to Roderigo was an exercise in monotony, and an example of the sort of performance that keeps audiences away from Shakespeare. His asides to the audience were bellowed at us, not shared with us. Seeing no variety in his first Act performances, seeing nothing that made me believe in him as a character, and knowing how much of the play depends on that belief, I saw no reason to remain after the first intermission.

Because of the promise in the rest of the cast, and my affection of the play itself, this flaw was especially tragic, and, hopefully, not an indication of the direction future Atlanta Shakespeare Co productions will take.

--- Brad Rudy (BKRudy@aol.com) [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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