In this distillation of the Shakespeare tragedy—very close, ironically, to the José Limón ballet The Moor’s Pavane—Desdemona’s (Elena Barone) handkerchief, a gift from Othello, is offered as proof of her infidelity when it is found in Cassio’s (Ian Cooper) possession, placed there by Iago, played as a growling “Sopranos”-style thug by Christopher Romero Wilson. As his manipulated wife, Emilia, Amanda Vilanova ardently and clearly communicated her love for her mistress Desdemona and her hatred for her awful husband. Ms. Barone was both tender and strong as Desdemona.
Mr. Cooper spoke his lines well.
Mr. Serero, when he spoke to the audience after the show, was an absolute charmer, telling stories of his bar mitzvah. He eloquently showed his appreciation for the hardworking Shawn Chang who played effective background music on the piano and Geoff Thomas on the darbuka (a drum) whose percussive sound effects provided dramatic tension.
The costuming—uncredited—looked authentically Moroccan.
Othello (June 16, 23, 26, 28 and 30, 2016)
Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, in Manhattan
For tickets, call 800-838-3006 or visit http://www.AmericanSephardi.org
For more information, visit http://www.asfothello.bpt.me
Running time: one hour and 15 minutes with no intermission