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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Rep's 'Othello' Mixes Old With New

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The story of Shakespeare's Othello has taken many forms over the past 400 years. The Milwaukee Rep tackles the Moor of Venice this month in a decidedly modern production that mixes the ancient text with present-day iconography. Todd Edward Ivins, who produced the design elements for the Rep's Cabaret last season, looks to set the mood for Othello in a contemporary biker-gang setting.

Othello
is a selection that Rep Artistic Director Mark Clements has wanted to produce for a long time. The play, one of Shakespeare's later works, presents a complex dynamic of politics and ambition. Rep newcomer Lindsay Smiling plays the outsider title character, and Gerard Neugent plays the villainous Iago. Clements hopes to portray Iago as a man of more complexity and depth than the surface-level villainy you typically see in this role.

Clements considers himself to be a purist with Shakespeare's work, so there will be a deep respect for the text. The contemporary visuals of this production may defy audiences' expectations for what a Shakespearean show should look like, but expect the central inspirations and motivations behind the characters to remain intact.

The Milwaukee Rep's production of Othello runs April 3-May 6. For ticket reservations, call 414-224-9490.

Theater Happenings

  • The bizarre comedy Mr. Marmalade explores the life of a 4-year-old girl with an imaginary friend who is abusive to his personal assistant, does cocaine and enjoys porn. The show runs March 30-April 1, with a free preview March 29, at UW-Milwaukee's Kenilworth Studio 508. For more information, call 414-229-4308.
  • From hit film to stage musical, Shrek makes it to the Milwaukee Theatre April 5-8. For ticket reservations, call 1-800-745-3000.
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