I hate the Moor!
Iago talking about his “friend” Othello

Good night, honest Iago.
Othello talking about Iago

Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.
Various sources

I find it interesting that a story about a famous black man in the spotlight for allegedly doing wrong would fit so well in today’s political climate. Or, that the few female characters on stage would serve as a precursor for the #METOO movement. There’s headstrong Emilia (played magnificently by Tania Verafield as Iago’s wife and Desdemona’s attendant.) She’s an officer in the Venetian military alongside her husband. The heroine Desdemona’s (Angela Gulner is absolutely stunning) love for Othello (Wayne T. Carr) remains steadfast. Unfortunately, Othello doesn’t reciprocate the sentiment after being further brainwashed by his officer and supposed friend Iago (Michael Manuel performance was off the charts and incredible to witness).

Photo by Craig Schwartz

The officer is angry, and rightfully so, that Othello promoted Michael Cassio (wonderful job by Brian Henderson) to captain instead of him. Iago puts on a happy face in front of Othello and others but it’s the side conversations he has with the audience that makes his true feelings known. He was passed over for someone new to the regime and that doesn’t sit well with him. He overhears a conversation between Desdemona’s father Senator Brabantia (the talented Bonita Friedericy kills it flawlessly) has with Othello warning him to “Look to her, Moor, if thou hast eyes to see:/She has deceived her father, and may thee.”  Her own father throws her under the bus with no remorse. That’s cold!! Iago takes this as an incentive to concoct a plan to get rid of Othello. However, the scheme goes awry, as expected in Shakespeare’s tragic plays.

Much love goes to director Jessica Kubzansky for creating a heartfelt touch to the drama. She encourages male bonding among the soldiers declaring their love for each other as brothers and soldiers of war. The bromance between Othello and Iago is a story that should be told. The same goes for Iago and the tragic Roderigo who foolishly puts his faith in the disgraced advisor and pays with his life. Also, Roderigo is passionately in love with Desdemona, but, she only has eyes for Othello, which later on becomes her downfall. Kubzansky’s women, even if it’s only a few, are strong and devoted, while, the men seem to fall apart for a minute or two.

Mad love goes out to Sally Hughes! Her part as the Duke of Venice was great, but as Bianca, Cassio’s woman, she was hot and hella feisty. She stood her ground with Cassio and told him what’s up. All the soldier could do was smile and give Bianca a hug and a memorable kiss. That’s love right there!! Carr and Gulner are perfect together. Their love exudes passion, grit and, sadly become vulnerable from the haters who wish to destroy their union. Carr is strong and intense whereas Gulner is both with a subtly that only a woman can possess. Their love is constant until it’s no longer viable. Expect nothing but a first-rate performances from both actors and this stellar cast.

Othello plays Thursday, March 28th at 7:30 p.m., Friday, March 29th at 8 p.m., Sunday April 7th at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., Saturday, April 13th at 2 p.m. and at 8 p.m., Thursday, April 18th at 7:30 p.m., Friday, April 19th at 8 p.m., until Sunday, April 28th at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. playing at A Noise Within theater, located at 3352 E. Foothill Blvd., in Pasadena. For ticket information, reserve online at www.anoisewithin.org or call 626-356-3121.