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  Othello at Folger Theatre


Folger Theatre
201 East Capitol Street, SE Washington

Passion and poisonous lies run rampant in this great tragedy of a love destroyed by jealousy. Shakespeare’s dramatic story reveals the power of suggestion as Iago undermines Othello in a game of betrayal.

Thru - Dec 4, 2011

Price: $30 - $65

Running Time: 2 hrs, 20 minutes with 1 intermission

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  Othello Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

MetroWeekly - Recommended

"... Under the direction of Robert Richmond, Ian Peakes makes Iago quite the charming sociopath much of the time -- rugged and scruffy and gleefully aware of how easily those around him can be manipulated with diversions as simple as Desdemona's handkerchief, which he plants in Cassio's possession to bolster the suggestion of an affair. Iago has already gotten Cassio demoted by this point and taken over his job, and it doesn't help matters that Iago has convinced Cassio to enlist Desdemona to advocate on his behalf with Othello, who grows increasingly enraged by her entreaties."

Jonathan Padget

WeLoveDC - Highly Recommended

"...The text is front and center in Folger’s production, spoken with great clarity in an American English delivery devoid of flourishes – a style that’s become Folger’s signature.With psychologically intense performances and a seductive production design, this Othello will stay in my mind a long time."
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Jenn Larsen

City Paper - Recommended

"... The Folger’s Iago, Ian Merrill Peakes, isn’t as over-the-top demented as the one Fletcher et al put together (and pull apart), but he’s still showier than most, playing asides to the audience and all but rubbing his hands together with glee when a plan comes together. He wants to be liked, this Iago, wants his motivations to be understood; I prefer my sociopaths a little less apologetic."
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Trey Graham

Washingtonian - Recommended

"...Tony Cisek’s set is deceptively simple at first—a gauzy four-poster bed seems pretty low-key for the Folger, but it quickly transforms into the sails on a ship, and then an Arabian souk, complete with Oriental rugs, ornate pillows, and even a belly dancer (Zehra Fazal). As always, the ensemble cast does an outstanding job utilizing aisle and balcony space, and fight scenes are well choreographed—with the exception of one fight involving Cassio (Thomas Keegan), in which the actors inexplicably go into slo-mo mode, Matrix-style. While there are some strong features here—Merrill Peakes is particularly effective and almost psychopathically horrible as Iago—a little hamminess goes a long way in a tragedy. This is an entertaining Othello, but it could still use a touch more thought and a touch less drama."
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Sophie Gilbert

ShowBizRadio - Recommended

"... The Folger’s Iago (Ian Merrill Peakes) is a smiling, good-humored con man, skillfully confiding in the audience, with evident enjoyment, his plans for ruining Othello and others. Iago’s intimate relationship with the audience, making it almost complicit in his schemes, is a key element in the play, an element lacking in the Synetic’s treatment of the character. The currency of Peakes’ Iago is the trust his charm and seemingly candid nature engender in his marks. He is a kind of Bernie Madoff figure who steals the hearts and lives of others rather than their money."
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Bob Ashby

MD Theatre Guide - Recommended

"...The production has an interestingly comic take on the character of Roderigo; Louis Butelli is wonderful, and his Roderigo is funny, pathetic, completely drawn in by Iago’s plot. However, the director’s choice to make Roderigo such a funny character (although hilarious in the first half of the show) does not work as well in the last two acts. After the comic relief the audience grew to expect from acts I, II, and III, and they were laughing at inappropriate moments in acts IV and V."
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Jessica Pearson

DCTheatreScene - Highly Recommended

With earsplitting audio effects rivaling those of the latest “Transformers” movie sequel, the Folger Theatre’s new production of William Shakespeare’s Othello is geared toward attracting a new generation to the brilliance of the Bard. And it just may succeed.
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Terry Ponick

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