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Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park to end season with 'Othello'
A play that has a great tragic title character and touching leading lady, but often seemed to be more about its villain — the epitome of evil — is being staged through Sept. 29 by Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park as the company's season finale.
The castle-like set, with a tower, balcony and bridges over a built-in moat at the Myriad Gardens Water Stage, facilitated early scenes in which “Othello, the Moor of Venice,” emerged as a kind of superhero.
W. Jerome Stevenson brought a powerful physical presence to the part of a man who has no trouble commanding the stage and others militarily, but proves increasingly unable to control his own emotions.
In so doing, he rose from a two-dimensional, comic book-style hero, saving the city from the Turkish threat, to become a divided, deeply human figure, destroyed by the “green-eyed monster” of jealousy and doubt.
Sophie Moshofsky conveyed the naivete and vulnerability as well as youthful passion of Desdemona, who has secretly married Othello at the play's outset and seems to almost accept her fate in its tragic finale.
Hal Kohlman forcefully conveyed the angry reaction of Desdemona's father in a scene which suggested how taboo — and titillating — the subject of interracial marriage must have been in Shakespeare's day.
Mandee Chapman Roach had some of the play's best moments, in dramatic terms, when she finally accused her husband, Iago, bringing him to ruin, but too late to save her friend, Desdemona, or herself.