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Crown Point Community Theatre Presents: Othello

Written by Neal F. Litherland. Posted in Uncategorized

Published on August 04, 2010 with No Comments

By Neal F. Litherland

             Shakespeare’s “Othello” is a story filled with tragedy, love, guile, spite and a jealousy that was old even when the bard put quill to parchment centuries ago. One of Shakespeare’s more famous plays, it concerns the story of Othello, a noble moor (a black man, for those unfamiliar with the terminology of the day) who has joined the Christian fight against the Turks. Othello marries the lovely Desdemona, a noble Italian woman who forsakes her father for Othello’s side, and he’s given a post as the governor of the island of Cypress. Surrounded by good friends and much beloved, a traitorous soldier Iago begins to pour lies and jealousy into Othello’s ear, the foul words eventually leading to the destruction of everyone and everything in the name of petty vengeance and jealousy.

            Othello has been put on by a number of theatre companies before, and it’s being put on by the Crown Point Community Theatre on July 30 and 31, as well as August 6 and 7 at 8 p.m. There’s also a last showing on August 8 at 3 p.m. for those who didn’t get to catch a regular showing. And if you have the time, $12 is more than worth the cost to see this rendition of Othello.

            To begin with, the casting for this show was done very well. Chong Choe (who was the director until he had to step into the main role) portrays Othello’s sorrows and rages perfectly. The presence that Choe brings to the role of the general can be show stopping, and considering he had only four weeks to learn the part, it’s extremely impressive. Matt Kennedy also brought his best to this production as Iago, whose often cumbersome dialogue was delivered with many a sly smile and knowing glance for the audience, helping even those unfamiliar with Shakespeare to know just what the rogue was planning and how he was going to go about it. With notable performances from Kate-Lynn Edwards as Desdemona and Breanne Pynakker as Emilia (Iago’s wife), the rest of the cast followed suit in creating an easy to believe world that the audience could get lost in.

            It should also be mentioned that despite the shoestring budget that the community theatre is working with the set and costume designs bring a lot to the production. The costumes were a mix of the period and the modern, with the nobility and the gentry often wearing impractical gowns, whereas the soldiers and commoners wore business casual vests and ties with their swords and the ladies dressed in low heels and sleek dresses. It created an Indie hodge podge feel that really brought home the fact that Othello isn’t unique to Shakespeare’s time, and that a story about jealousy, petty slights, vanity and murder is just as appropriate now as it was hundreds, or even thousands of years ago. Additionally the set design was sturdy, simple, and it helped create the illusion that we were away on Cypress watching treachery unfold rather than sitting near the Crown Point square next to a movie theater.

            For an opening night, there were a few, minor mis-steps though. An occasional phrase turning under the tongue (which happened a time or two even to our smooth and “honest” Iago) and the occasional prop going missing from stage. There was enough creativity, practice and sheer bravado in the performers to make up for whatever slights the first night had, and overall the play ended up as a very good rendition of the classic story. If you don’t get to see enough good theater then definitely make one of the show times, and if you’re not familiar with Shakespeare then this is one of the better plays to get friendly with the bard’s work.

            For more information on the Crown Point Community Theater, visit their website at www.CPCT.biz, or call (219) 805-4255.

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About Neal F. Litherland

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All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Chronicle. Neal Litherland is a Valparaiso resident who has been a freelance writer for several years. A graduate of Indiana University, he holds a Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice. He offers advice on money-saving tips using common-sense tactics. He welcomes suggestions and comments. Contact Neal: neal@thechroniclenwi.com.

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