See it if
a faithful, emotionally raw&physically intense Othello, stripped of costume or scenery with young, adept actors, crisply directed, interests
Don't See it if
you don't like immersive theatre, or an unrelenting exploration of the basest aspects of human behavior, no justice in sight.
Dim lights, haunting vocals between scenes & clever use of transparent gauze walls that surround the single peripheral rows that edge the square playing space all do much to keep the audience involved & the pace up at MatchLit's Othello.
In a solid, if somewhat uninspired production, this Othello sometimes soars emotionally, though its language rarely sings, even mysteriously and uniformly dropping in volume for much of Act ll, often being inaudible.
Though the young cast is game, committed and dives head first into this world of duplicity, jealousy, greed, misogyny, revenge, violence, racial prejudice & religious hatred, in the end it's the women in this production that bring home the emotional truth and immediacy of moment.
Claire Tyers' Desdemona is lovely and loving with a surprising inner strength that pushes back to resist the inevitable; Kristin Sgarro's Emilia is somewhat uneven, but when pushed displays an emotional depth and authority that's fresh, modern and in the moment. While Julian Thomas as Othello maintains a convincing rage with terrifying peaks, Woodrow Proctor's Iago, while voluble and present seems never quite evil, hateful or slimy enough to be the engine of all this tragedy. Aryanya Sederati as Bianca,Ty Baumann as Rodrigo, Nick Ritacco as Cassio and Mike Labbadia as the Duke round out this earnest cast.
Each new generation finds its own Shakespeare, and this Othello is a solid and serious attempt that should be seen and given the chance to grow and develop. Part of Match:Lit's mission is, in fact, to bring Shakespeare to younger audiences, and for that it is to be applauded and encouraged.