Category Archives: Shakespeare

Richard III is at it again!

Baltimore Shakespeare Factory Richard III promotional coaster. *

Baltimore Shakespeare Factory Richard III promotional coaster features the King’s crest and a White Boar, his symbol. *

Everybody’s favorite Shakespearian villain is haunting the streets of Baltimore again. This time at Baltimore Shakespeare Factory’s indoor performance space, The Great Hall Theatre at St. Mary’s on Roland Ave.

The Factory presents the Bard’s works as they were originally presented:

  • Universal lighting
  • Minimal sets
  • Music period to the time
  • Cross gender casting
  • And actors taking on multiple roles.

Given The Great Hall’s thrust stage and the the fact that they keep the lights up it is no wonder that as an audience you feel very engaged in the play. The players can see YOU as much as you can see them, and when Richard cracks some scheme or Elizabeth pleads to the heavens for mercy… they are talking to you.

This production snaps along at about 2 hours and 45 minutes (plus intermission) and stars Chris Cotterman as Richard. Cotterman is ruthless and –somehow– heartbreaking in the role. I (very unexpectedly) found myself (kind of) routing for the guy. Ian Blackwell Rogers– who won me over as Macbeth and Hamlet in past Factory productions — is delightfully oily as the power hunger Buckingham. And Lily Kerrigan, Kelly Dowling and Barbara Madison Hauck do justice to the trio of women (Lady Anne, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Margaret) who have their lives torn apart by Richard’s ambitions. The show is directed by Tom Delise.

You’ve got one more weekend to catch it as the show runs through April April 19.

Poster for Richard. *

Poster for Richard. *

 

 

*I was lucky enough to design the promotional materials for the Factory’s production.

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Secondary Character(s) Saturday: Ariel and Caliban (The Tempest)

English: Ariel and Caliban

I’m doubling up on Secondary Characters today because I…

  1. JUST got home from seeing the Baltimore Shakespeare Factory’s ensemble version of The Tempest
  2. didn’t manage to get in a post yesterday
  3. can’t decide between Ariel and Caliban
  4. am master of my own island… I mean blog… and can pretty much do as I please.

WHO: Ariel and Caliban

FROM: The Tempest

BY: WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

WRITTEN: 1611

PROS:
Ariel– As assistant head mischief maker on the island Ariel shows a can do attitude when it comes to pleasing her* master, Prospero. She’s persistent in asking for her freedom from the magician, and although it’s been 12 years, she’s optimistic enough to think she’ll actually achieve it. She is a creature of the air, a spirit who can disappear and do magic.

Caliban — He’s the island’s true heir apparent. He knows every animal, every cave, every stream. He’s strong.

Ariel (from The Tempest)

Ariel (from The Tempest) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

CONS:
Ariel — She mischievous. Her drive to gain her freedom blinds her to the morality of what she’s instructed to do.

Caliban– He’s different. He’s not as “smart” as his Eurocentric counterparts in the play. He’s ugly. All that makes him a monster, right? He certainly gets called “monster” often enough in the course of the play. Oh, and the powerful white guy wants his land. That’s never good. Sorry, but its hard not to feel compassion for Caliban. 12 years prior to the start of the play Prospero landed on his island and essentially planted a flag on it and started to call himself king. Suddenly Caliban became Prospero’s servant, then slave.  Prospero and Miranda tried to educate Caliban early on, but, beyond learning to speak, it didn’t take.

MOST SHINING MOMENT:
Ariel — The Most Shining Moment goes to Ariel when she wakes up the Prince and Gonzolo just in time for them evade assassination.

Caliban de "La Tempête" de William S...

Caliban de “La Tempête” de William Shakespeare (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

LEAST SHINING MOMENT:
Caliban — The Least Shining Moment goes to Caliban in an offstage moment sometime before the play begins. Back when Prospero and Miranda were still in the “lets educate the monster” stage of their relationship. Caliban misunderstanding the nature of Miranda’s kindness  — he’d only known one other woman, his witch (literally) of a mother — and unable to control his own nascent sexuality tries to rape her. Bad move.

* Although Shakespeare wrote the role of Ariel for male actors, it was played tonight by the lovely and very talented Jenna K. Rossman, a woman. And since every time I’ve seen the show — this is my third time seeing it live — the role has been done with a woman playing Ariel, I’m just going to go ahead and use the feminine pronoun.

Caliban, on the other hand,  is almost always played by a man. This time around he is played by wonderful James Miller.

Rossman and Miller were also in the company’s version of A Mid Summer Night’s Dream this summer.

Prospero is being played by Ian  Blackwell Rogers (He was this summer’s Hamlet), and Miranda is  being played by Kathryn Zoerb (who was Juliet earlier in the season.)

This ensemble production was put together with limited rehearsal time (18 hours) and no director (it is actor driven). To add the Shakespearian experience audience members have the opportunity to rent nerf tomatoes and lob them at the actors should they flub a line (or if they are just really nasty characters.) Given the intimate setting  of the Shakespeare Factory’s home stage at The Great Hall Theatre at St. Mary’s a few flying tomatoes really adds to an already enjoyable show.

The Tempest runs until Nov 24. Click HERE for details on how to get tickets. 


Secondary Character Saturday: Hermia

Washington Allston's 1818 painting Hermia and ...

Washington Allston’s 1818 painting Hermia and Helena. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Who: Hermia

From: A Mid Summer Nights Dream

By: William Shakespeare

Written: between 1594 and 1595

Pros: Though she be but little she is fierce.  She stands up for herself and refuses to give up on love. She’s played by my friend, the amazing Lisa Davidson,  in Baltimore Shakespeare Factory‘s current offering.

Most Shining Moment: Standing up to her father (and facing the death penalty) for love.

Hermia approaches love as though it were something easily threatened, but not easily lost. At all points, Hermia’s relentless – you have to hustle if you’re going to hold on to your lover, and it’s worth the hustle if the love is true. Hermia thus provides a contrast to the self-doubting and flippant love around her. She may seem fierce and shrewd, but sometimes that’s just the way love goes, unless you’re willing to let it go all together. [Shmoop. com]

ritaLOVEStoWRITE blog review of Mid Summer Night’s Dream [http://wp.me/2sm4g]

Hermia (Lisa Davidson) and fan (Maggie) off stage during intermission at the Factory's Mid Summer.

Hermia (Lisa Davidson) and fan (Maggie) off stage during intermission at the Factory’s Mid Summer.


WELL met by Moonlight (and mid day) — Midsummer in the Meadow

The Baltimore Shakespeare Factory’s second offering this summer is the Bard’s classic comedy, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The play runs weekends  until 8/18th in the Meadow at Evergreen Museum on Charles Street, with command performances at Boordy Vineyards on 8/23 and at the company’s winter residence at the Great Hall at St. Mary’s in Hamden on 8/24 and 25.

    Puck (Jenna K. Rossman) puts Lysander (Tanner Medding) into a spell induced slumber.

Puck (Jenna K. Rossman) puts Lysander (Tanner Medding) into a spell induced slumber.

Midsummer is a lovely companion piece to the Factory’s earlier summer production of Hamlet. It is lighter and full of mirth. A sweet ending to a meaty Danish feast.

Much of that mirth is due to two of the players, Jenna Rossman (Puck) and Zach Brewster-Geisz (Nick Bottom). Shakespeare sets Puck and Bottom up as comedy relief and Rossman and Brewster-Geisz steal the show. — I feel for the less raucous (but wonderfully played) lovers and nobles who have to compete with Puck and Bottom for the audience’s attention.

Puck (Jenna K. Rossman) and Oberon (Joel Ottenheimer) control the Meadow -- er -- fairy kingdom.

Puck (Jenna Rossman) and Oberon (Joel Ottenheimer) control the Meadow — er — fairy kingdom.

Rossman’s Puck strutted, preened and danced around like some Isadora Duncan nymph channeling Mick Jagger (in a good way). She seemed to be everywhere. It was a delight to watch her weave her magic both over the characters in the play and over the audience.

Puck and Nick during the post show "cast chat". (Sorry I don't have a better pic of Nick).

Puck and Nick during the post show “Cast Talk”. (Sorry I don’t have a better pic of Bewster-Geisz).

Brewster-Geisz’s Nick Bottom was simply a hoot. It’s a funny part on paper, but Zach really brought Bottom to life. Ever meet some one who thinks they can do everything better than any one else? That’s Nick Bottom. He’s so over the top. It’s just wonderful. Brewster-Geisz’s transformation from the uber confident self-proclaimed leader of the acting troop to the confused donkey-headed man who finds himself the lucky recipient of Titania’s affection is nicely done as well.

Demetrius and Lysander protect Helena from Hermia.

Manly-men Demetrius and Lysander protect Helena from Hermia.

The lovers quartet — Hermia , Lysander, Helena and Demetrius — is also strong. Lisa Davidson, Tanner Medding, Shaina Higgins, and Rick Lyon-Vaiden are in turns earnest, funny, feisty and gob-smack in love — though not always with the right people.

Joel Ottenheimer commands as Oberon

Joel Ottenheimer commands as Oberon

The rest of the cast is tight as well.  Joel Ottenheimer and Laura Rocklyn are noble and appropriately pompous as the Royals (both in the “real” world and in Fairy). Lee Condreacci, as Peter Quince, did her best to keep the players and Nick Bottom under control. Lisa Bryan, Lorriane Imwold, Lonnie DeVaughn Simmons, Emily Sucher and Tegan William are the backbone of the production as they round out the company, each playing multiple roles as fairies and players.

Lisa Davidson playing mandolin and singing during intermission.

Lisa Davidson playing mandolin and singing during intermission.

I love how FACTORY members perform modern music that relates to the show in the pre-show and intermission. It is yet another level on which the players relate to the audience. And it gives us a glimpse at how multi-talented these actors really are.

Post show "Cast Talk"

Post show “Cast Talk”

Be sure to stay after the curtain call for the “Cast Talk” when the cast and directors are happy to answer all questions Shakespearian.

The Baltimore Shakespeare Factory continues its Play On. 4 FREE. 4 Ever. campaign with the goal of bringing Shakespeare to all for free by 2016. To learn how you can help or to get tickets to an upcoming show visit their website at http://theshakespearefactory.com/


July Creative Challenge: Shakespeare on the Grass

Ian Blackwell Rogers (Hamlet) in action.

Ian Blackwell Rogers (Hamlet) in action.

This Sunday I spent the afternoon at Meadow at Evergreen enjoying the Baltimore Shakespeare Factory’s performance of HAMLET.

I love to see Shakespeare live, and especially love to see it live outdoors, and super especially love to see it live outdoors the way Shakespeare’s audiences would have seen it 400 years ago. So I put aside my dislike for summer weather and bugs (I came prepared with bug spray, a sun hat, sun screen and lots of ice water) and headed into Baltimore for some murder and mayhem — Tudor Style.

The body count mounts as the play winds down.

The body count mounts as the play winds down.

Tom Delise, The Factory’s Artistic Director and the director of this production, used a light touch when it came to staging. A single set piece standing in for Elsinore Castle rises from a simple wooden platform.  Three red curtains  allow the actors access on and off stage. But Delise has his actors using all of the Meadow, so the actors are moving up and down aisles and entering from behind the audience too.

Unlike the 1,500 to 3,000 people who went to see the original play in the Globe Theatre, audience members in the Meadow have an intimate connection with the actors. Engaging the audience is one of The Factory’s core principles, and at times it felt like Hamlet, Ophelia, Gertrude and the rest were talking right to me. That really draws you into the action, and gives you a stake in what happens in the plot.

Ophelia, about to be taken to the graveyard.

Ophelia (Ann Turiano), at peace at last, about to be taken to the graveyard.

Given that just about every high school student reads Hamlet for some English class between 9th and 12th grade, and most people have seen at least one film version of the play its a pretty good bet that you’ll know the plot and at least some of the lines before the show begins. That’s helpful because this production is fast paced, and if you didn’t already have a little knowledge of what was going on you might get overwhelmed.  And when I say fast paced I mean tight, as in TIGHT. As  in sweetly, seamlessly: bam, bam, bam; scene, scene, scene. It’s no wonder they got this notoriously long play (it’s Shakespeare’s longest) down to about 2 hours 40 minutes. Very impressive. (Although the only “complaint” I have is that without breaking for scene changes I couldn’t CLAP! And I really wanted to clap.)

Ian Blackwell Rogers (Hamlet) and Jess Behar (Rosencrantz).

Ian Blackwell Rogers (Hamlet) and Jess Behar (Rosencrantz).

The Factory has several actors playing multiple roles. Hugh F. Hill, III was vain and a little evil as Claudius and wonderfully creepy as the zombie like Ghost. Frank Vince was funny as the annoyingly dotting father Polonius and as the pious Priest.  James Miller intense as Laertes and animated as the Player King. Jess Behar and Katherine Vary were wonderful as the sycophantic  Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. They also played Francisco and Bernardo. Jim Stimson is both in the ensemble and is lead musician for the group (he plays a mean lute and guitar). Poor Amy Parochetti and Chris Ryder played 12 roles between them!

Other actors had one role.

Kelly Dowling as Gertrude

Kelly Dowling as Gertrude

I liked Kelly Dowling’s tender/tough approach to Gertrude. And I loved the heart-break and surprise she brought to the stage when her character realizes what a mess her life suddenly has become.

Chris Cotterman (Horatio) learns that Hamlet is coming back to Elsinore.

Chris Cotterman (Horatio) learns that Hamlet is coming back to Elsinore.

Chris Cotterman plays my favorite character in the show, Horatio. It’s a tough role because he’s the best friend, the second guy. He can’t upstage Hamlet (literally) and Chris doesn’t. He plays the supporting role (both in the character’s life and on stage) perfectly.

Kelly Dowling (Gerturde) and Ann Turiano (Ophelia)

Kelly Dowling (Gerturde) and Ann Turiano (Ophelia)

Ann Turiano is lovely as Ophelia. Her confusion over familial duty and her suddenly rocky love life in the first half is tender and heartbreaking, but its her mad scenes in the second half that steal the show.

Ham Yurick

I last saw  Ian Blackwell Rogers as the title character in The Factory’s Macbeth. He brings the same energy and intensity here. It is hard to take your eyes off of him as you try to puzzle out what’s going on in that head of his. As the lines spill out of him at break neck speed he keeps you engaged and on point with the plot.

Larertes Ham

As hot as it was on Sunday I expected the actors to lose some gusto as the show went on, but the opposite happened. As they plowed into Acts Three, Four and Five they only got more intense. By the time Hamlet and Laertes were at each other’s throats my heart was pounding. And it didn’t have anything to do with the temperature.

Click HERE to read the Today in MD Theatre Guide  Review.


July Creative Challenge, day 12: Words, words, words

hamlet with skull

Dude. What makes you so interesting anyway? Why should I spend four and a half hours of my life watching YOU mope about the stage debating your sanity and your mother’s fidelity? I’ve got problems of my own, you know, buddy. I don’t have time to worry about your to be’s or not to be’s. I mean it was 412 years ago… if you haven’t figured it out by now, let it go. For reals.

Ohh, rude-urban-slang Rita, me thinks you dost protest too much.

Hamlet is one of the greatest literary treasures of the English language and, in reality I am thrilled to be spending several evenings (and Sunday afternoons) with the great Dane over the next few weeks. I don’t have to travel to Elsinore Castle or even The Globe Theatre in London. The Baltimore Shakespeare Factory is putting on Hamlet right here in Charm City as part of the Summer of Magic and Mayhem.

Poster for Hamlet courtesy foxpop communications.

Poster for Hamlet courtesy Baltimore Shakespeare Factory and  VoxPop Communications.

Tom Delise, the Baltimore Shakespeare Factory’s Artistic Director told broadwayworld.com that “HAMLET is not simply the tragedy of the Prince of Denmark — it is also a ghost story, a detective story, a love story, a story of power and ambition, a revenge story, and even at times, a comedy.” [baltimore.broadwayworld.com]

The Factory works the words.

They delve heavily into Shakespeare’s original text to find “unexpected humor and provide clarity for audiences of all ages.” [Ibid] They talk to the audience (and are prepared for the audience to talk back to them.) That engagement between player and patron brings the Shakespeare experience to a whole new level.

Hamlet is playing at three locations (the BSF’s year round home at St. Mary’s in Hampden, at Evergreen, and at Boordy  Vineyards) with the bulk of the performances occurring in the Meadow at Evergreen. When you go bring sun screen, bug spray, a blanket or lawn chair and an umbrella .

A little audience inter action during last year's Taming of the Shrew. [Image courtesy: Baltimore Shakespeare Factory.]

A little audience engagement during last year’s Taming of the Shrew. [Image courtesy: Baltimore Shakespeare Factory.]

The second production  the Factory is mounting this summer is A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It’s another of the Bard’s most popular plays.  It’s a more family friendly option if you’ve got young Shakespeare lovers.  It has less death (corpse count: Midsummer O /  Hamlet’s 8 — plus the Ghost)  and more fairies. There’s love, there’s magic…there’s even a guy who literally gets his head turned into that of an Ass. How fun is that?

Poster for A Midsummer Night's Dream. [Image courtesy: foxpop communications]

Poster for A Midsummer Night’s Dream. [Image courtesy: Baltimore Shakespeare Factory and VoxPop Communications]

I have a special spot in my heart for Midsummer, especially for Puck, that merry wanderer of the night!

Click HERE to see Hamlet’s schedule.

Click HERE to see Midsummer’s Schedule.

BSF 1-6 ad pg 20

Here’s an ad I did for the Factory that ran in Mason-Dixon ARRIVE

Hope to see you under the stars for some swordplay and Shakespeare this summer!


Summer fun with Baltimore Shakespeare Factory

The BSF's Summer with Shakespeare: Performance Workshops take place  July 29 - Aug 16.

The BSF’s Summer with Shakespeare: Performance Workshops take place July 29 – Aug 16.

If you:

  • live near Baltimore, Maryland,
  • are kid about to start 3rd to 12th grade,
  • and you like Shakespeare

… boy do I have a deal for you!

The Baltimore Shakespeare Factory is offering three, one week long workshops that will allow kids to experience what it might be like to travel back in time to the 1600s and be a part of the fun and excitement of Shakespeare’s acting company–The King’s Men. The BSF’s  “Summer with Shakespeare:Performance Workshops” will help students develop acting skills, make friends, build confidence, and develop an appreciation and understanding of Shakespeare’s work.

The campers will:

  • Work one-on-one with professional actors and educators
  • Learn and practice the same acting techniques Baltimore Shakespeare Factory uses in its productions
  • Study Shakespeare’s poetic language in ways that make it easy to understand, and learn how to use to enrich performance
  • Bring some of Shakespeare’s most famous characters to life!

“Shakespeare is a wonderful platform to get the kids active and engaged in group activity that stretches their imaginations as well as their ability to interpret complex language.  And it is a ton of fun!” says Wendy Meetze, Director of Education for the BSF.

This is the second year for the camp in Baltimore City (the camp is held in the Meadow at Evergreen House on Charles). The group, which began in Carroll County, hosted a similar camp starting in 2006 and have taught over 500 students. That Carroll County camp is still going strong on the campus of Century High School.

Students come in all shapes, sizes and from various backgrounds and skill levels. “Kids who are interested in theatre are especially attracted to the workshops” says Meetze, but “we truly believe there is no “typical” Shakespearean student or audience member. Shakespeare wrote for EVERYONE in his time, from peasants to princes.”

The camp will offer a small group setting with lots of one on one coaching. As a non-musical theatre performance camp the focus is squarely on the script, something that sets this camp apart from other performing arts camps in the area. “While the outcome is a production, the curriculum is a healthy mix of various skills needed to make that production a reality,” said Meetze. The campers perform their production prior to the professional company’s Friday performance. “We find the kids learn so much more by comparing and contrasting their version to a full production. There have certainly been occasions where our professional actors have discovered something new during the student’s performance!”

For more information on the camp, including a link to register  CLICK HERE.

Summer clipping

The Baltimore Shakespeare Factory  is dedicated to bringing the works of William Shakespeare to life for audiences of all ages and backgrounds. In Shakespeare’s time (1564-1616), the theater was accessible to everyone, and The Factory prides itself on continuing that tradition by presenting professional quality work at affordable prices.

This year, the group, which is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, will present Hamlet and Mid Summer Night’s Dream this summer in the Meadow at Evergreen House on Charles Street and at other locals around town.  Click HERE for Hamlet’s schedule. Click HERE for Mid Summer’s Schedule.

Factory productions bring Shakespeare’s works to life in a way that is accessible to modern audiences without compromising the cornerstone of their artistic and literary merit—Shakespeare’s original language. The Baltimore Shakespeare Factory is built on a love of language, and productions are designed to not only help audiences understand Shakespeare’s words, but to love them, too.

This year the BSF launched it’s “4 free, 4 ever!” campaign which hopes to raise $750,000 by April , 2016–the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s Death> This will allow the group to present its shows at no cost to the public the following season.

Play on 4 free


Claire Danes

“It’s very difficult to judge yourself. Extreme self-doubt is only attractive when it’s fictionalized. Which is why people love the movies. They are so reassuring.”– Claire Danes

[Image Courtesy: Fan Quarterly.com]

[Image Courtesy: Fan Quarterly.com]

Claire Catherine Danes was born on this day in  New York City, New York, USA in 1979. She is 34 years old.

She was born to “Chris, an architectural photographer turned computer consultant, and Carla, a textile designer.” [People.com] She has an older brother named Asa. The family lived in the Soho area of New York when she was growing up. When Danes was 5 she saw Madonna on TV and she knew she wanted to be a performer. By 6 she was taking modern dance classes. Her focus soon changed to acting and she attended a number of top ranked schools that feed both her academic and dramatic needs…Dalton School, New York, the Lee Strasberg Theater Institute, The New York City Lab School for Collaborative Studies, The Professional Performing Arts School and Lycée Français de Los Angeles.

Her film debut came at 13  in a short film called Dreams of Love.

Angela Chase (Claire Danes) and Jordan Catalan...

Angela Chase (Claire Danes) and Jordan Catalano (Jared Leto) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

She had a half dozen shorts and TV guest roles before landing her big break in the TV series My So Called Life.

Angela Chase, an inquisitive everygirl dealing with the common struggles of high school and adolescence. The Washington Post’s Tom Shales describes Danes as “deep and mercurial and strikingly complex.” [Ibid]

The same year she played Beth in  Little Women with Christian Bale and Winona Ryder.

She made 12 movies in the next five years, Including:

  • How to Make an American Quilt (again with Ryder)
  • Home for the Holidays (made in my hometown of Baltimore)
"Clair Danes to  join 'The Flock'"

“Clair Danes to join ‘The Flock'” (Photo credit: Lloyd Dewolf)

Then she took a break from Hollywood to attend Yale University. She took her time returning to the big screen, opting for smaller roles in films like The Hours and Terminator 3.

She shared leading “lady” status with co-star Billy Crudup in Stage Beauty, a film about where “A female theatre dresser creates a stir and sparks a revolution in seventeenth century London theatre by playing Desdemona in Othello.” [IMDb –Stage Beauty] It was a challenging role.  Danes says: “I was intimidated. There was the accent, the period of the film, and I had to act badly. I kept laughing during those scenes because I was god-awful. I’ve worked so hard to be good, and now I had to work even harder to be bad.”

She followed Stage Beauty with a couple of RomComs (Shop Girl and The Family Stone), an ensemble drama (Evening— where she met her husband Hugh Dancy)  and the fantasy Stardust (an adaptation of the Neil Gaiman novel).

Danes as a fallen star in Stardust [Image courtesy: About.com]

Danes as a fallen star in Stardust [Image courtesy: About.com]

The same year (2007) she made her Broadway debut  at the Roundabout Theatre Company’s production of George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion.

In 2010 she did a Emmy winning turn in Temple Grandin. The HBO movie is about “an autistic woman who has become one of the top scientists in the humane livestock handling industry.” [IMDb — Temple Grandin]  Danes won an Emmy for her role in the film. She won another Emmy (and two People’s Choice Awards) for her role in Homeland on Showtime. The show, which co-stars Damian Lewis is in production for its third season.

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Secondary Character Saturday — Iago

Illustration of Othello and Iago

Illustration of Othello and Iago (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“…What’s he then that says I play the villain?” — Iago

Who: Iago

From: Othello

By: William Shakespeare

Written: Around 1603

Pros: Intelligent, ambitious, funny. Although he is the play’s worst character, he is also its most interesting and complex by far… you can’t take your eyes off the scum ball.

Cons: Manipulative, abusive, sociopathic, vengeful, bitter, jealous, petty. He’s a liar and bully that will literally commit murder to get what he wants.

English: Carl Schurz as Iago from Shakespeare'...

English: Carl Schurz as Iago from Shakespeare’s play Othello, amidst his co-conspirators, prepares to enter the limelight. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Most Shining Moment: (Yeah, I’m leaving this one BLANK)

Least Shining Moment: So many to choose from. I’m going to go with killing his wife, Emilia. He’s treated her like dirt the entire play, and when she finally looses it and stands up to him he doesn’t think twice about running her through with a rapier.

Why I chose Iago: As you may have noticed most my Secondary Characters are pretty stand up guys. They all  have something going for them…maybe its charm… maybe they have good heart… but there is usually some nice feature that makes me like a character enough to give them the honored Saturday spot. Not so with Iago. Honestly I’m hard pressed to think of anything really nice to say about him. But…it is a really juicy role. He’s the one people remember. It is kind of the Darth Vader effect. You aren’t supposed to like him at all, but he’s the one whose theme song you remember.

English: Photographic full-length portrait of ...

English: Photographic full-length portrait of Edwin Booth as Iago in Shakespeare’s Othello, the Moor of Venice (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Is Iago a SECONDARY character: I often struggle with whether a character is indeed Secondary. And it is hard to make that case with Iago when he is on stage more than any other character in Othello.  (He has 1,070 lines.) Without his wicked machinations you’d have a very different/happier story so, unlike other Secondary Characters, he is pivotal to the plot. But, when it comes down to it, the play is called Othello, not Iago. So I’m giving the slimy little so-and-so the nod this week.

Othello (1995 film)

Othello (1995 film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

————————————————————-

I’m feeling very Shakespeare-y today. I had the good fortune to attend the Baltimore Shakespeare Factory‘s Bard’s Birthday Gala last night. We were treated to scenes from their upcoming production of Romeo and Juliet (April 6-27) as well as a 3 person / 20 minute version of Othello. It was a fabulous lesson in suspending disbelief as the actors literally transformed before your eyes from one character another, and it worked beautifully. With a handful of props, no set and no furniture these three actors told the this timeless story in an engaging, new way. Play on! Indeed!


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