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Fourth annual Shapespeare
festival opens with Othello

by Laura Durant

Shakespeare Sedona, now in its fourth season, has set the standard for classical theater in Northern Arizona. The season opener features the fiery and passionate story of Othello, starring Ken Love in the title role.

Set in the romantic world of the Mediterranean, Shakespeare brings to life in Othello one of the most unforgettable villains in all of literature: Iago.

Ken Love stars as Othello. Iago is played by Andy Alcala. Iago has the status of being probably the most despised villain of any Shakespeare play. However Andy points out that Iago feels completely justified in his cause.

“He is passed over for a promotion and suspects that Othello has been with his wife. Iago explains that just the mere thought of this is reason enough to destroy him.”

As the show unfolds, Iago demonstrates his mastery at playing one character against another when he says “Who is he that says I play a villain? When this advice is free I give and honest.”

 If Iago is the perfect villain, then is Desdemona the perfect victim? “She’s no angel,” said Maren McLean, who portrays the ill-fated wife of Othello. “After all, she’s daring enough to defy her father and elope. And yet she is human, vulnerable and wants to believe in the good of everyone.”

Shakespeare Sedona’s Artistic Director, Jared Sakren, reflects on the legacy of story: “Othello was created during what is generally considered to be the period of Shakespeare’s greatest writing. . . In this play, the swords are everywhere and Othello’s good heart, his true love for the pure Desdemona, is sure to be a casualty in this place.

“And because he is a man of the sword, he cannot  control, understand, nor trust his own love for the one person that might save him. Therein lies the tragedy of this play.”

 Shakespeare Sedona’s Othello runs through August 5th at the Sedona Cultural Park. For tickets, call 1-800-780-ARTS or 928-203-4TIX.

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