The Washington Post

Give me Moor

Theater fans in Washington who have been craving Moor finally have it with two interpretations of the William Shakespeare tragedy of race, love and betrayal, Othello.

Set in Venice, the story unfolds as the high ranking general Othello promotes Michael Cassio over Iago, who thinks he is more deserving of the position of personal lieutenant.

As recourse, Iago, using people as pawns including Othello’s dear wife Desdemona puts a plan in motion against Othello. In the end the struggle over power and prowess ends with no winners. It is a tale that can certainly hit home in this region, considering the continual fights that go on between the political parties.

Washington audiences have a chance to see two distinct interpretations of the story.

The current production at the Elizabethan Theatre inside the Folger Shakespeare Library that runs through December 4 offers a solid traditional interpretation under the direction of Robert Richmond. It sticks to the script Shakespeare penned centuries ago and unravels with the famous lines that have become so familiar.

Take note, take note, O world,
To be direct and honest is not safe.”

In contrast, as a part of their continued Speak No More – Silent Shakespeare Festival the Synetic Theater is presenting their dynamic take on Othello through November 6 with no dialogue.

The cast includes Helen Hayes Award winners Roger Payano as Othello, Salma Shaw as Desdemona and Scott Brown in the role of Cassio.

Clarence J. Fluker is a renaissance man living a life of politics and prose in Washington, D.C. He edits Substance & Style D.C, a blog about culture and community. You can follow him on Twitter at @cjfluker.

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