Portland Center Stage's "Othello" is magnificent in every way. The entire cast is fantastic, but special praise is owed to Gavin Hoffman as Iago. His performance is so palpably villainous that one expects to see a forked tongue eventually. And he's local, which of course scores him even more points!
The set is mammoth, so much so that adjectives like that don't quite do it justice, which compels me to quote the specifications from the Press Notes: "The set structure is 30 feet wide and estimated to weigh 2,000 pounds. It rotates 360-degrees on 104 castors, powered by a 5 horsepower engine." Try to imagine what that looks like. I wager the actual set is grander than what your mind's eye conjures. It must be seen to be believed.
"Othello" is my favorite of Shakespeare's plays. I enjoy its dark themes, and the language seems easier to interpret than some others. I would recommend "Othello" to reluctant Shakespeare beginners. But really, I'd recommend it to everyone. It is such a feast for the senses, it almost defies description.
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