"OTHELLO" A GRIPPING LESSON IN JEALOUSY AND REVENGE


BONNIE GOLDBERG

Seeking revenge for what he sees as a slight, Iago, when Othello chooses to promote Cassio over him as his lieutenant, takes on the role of a master manipulator. In William Shakespeare's classic tragedy "Othello," it is the sublime purpose of Iago to bring Othello to his knees, to disgrace, to utter despair.

Playhouse on Park in West Hartford is giving Iago free reign to enact his vengeful plot against Othello, the Moor, and by extension on his newly wed wife Desdemona, by framing his rival Cassio, until Sunday, October 20.

Tom Coiner's Iago is laced with evil intent and sinister pleasure as he structures his plot against his noble leader. When he is passed over for lieutenant and instead named only ensign, Iago contrives to catch all his enemies in his snare.

RJ Foster's Othello is at once a powerful leader and equally an all-too-human man who surrenders to the fault of jealousy. His beautiful wife Desdemona, the faithful and constant Celine Held, is cast in the role of seductress. With careful rumors and lies, Iago plants seeds of distrust in Othello's mind that his good lieutenant Cassio (Aidan Eastwood-Paticchio) is having an affair with his wife. Iago is the master puppeteer making them all dance to his tune, and he uses the gullible Roderigo (Austin Seay) and his own wife Emilia (Jennifer Polansky) to further his dastardly deeds.

A small antique handkerchief dotted with strawberries, Othello's first token of affection as a suitor to the fair Desdemona, becomes proof positive in later days that convinces Othello that Desdemona has been unfaithful. The seeds of doubt have been planted well and watered liberally by Iago and bear poisonous fruit. Director Sasha Bratt moves the action swiftly to its bloody conclusion, a world of war where innocents are punished as quickly as the guilty. This is a masterful cast at work.

For tickets ($22.50-32.50), call Playhouse on Park, 244 Park Road, West Hartford at 860-523-5900, ext. 10 or online at www.playhouseonpark.org.; Performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.

Enter into the devious mind of Iago, a man for whom defeat is unacceptable and ambition is everything.


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