Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Shakespeare Comes to Players by the Sea with 'Othello'

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Shakespeare Comes to Players by the Sea with 'Othello'

Article excerpt

Byline: TAMARA McCLARAN

One of Shakespeare's great tragedies, Othello, is set to open Friday, Jan. 16, at Players by the Sea in Jacksonville Beach. It is the first time in many years that Players by the Sea has performed a Shakespeare play and the first time a Jacksonville community theater has presented Othello.

"I hope that people aren't put off by Shakespeare," said director Robyn Neal. "While it is a tragedy, it doesn't start out with a lot of gloom and doom. There's a lot of humor, too. That makes it more interesting and appealing to audiences."

Neal understands that in presenting Shakespeare, time is as important as talent. After mid-September's auditions for the 21-member cast, she started Othello rehearsals by meeting one-on-one with each actor to discuss characterization and read through the text to lay the foundation before regular rehearsals began. Neal's direction is setting the stage for actors to perform a complex play.

"The language is so beautiful," Neal said. "When Shakespeare is done well, the language is conversational enough that I don't think the audience will have any trouble following exactly what is happening in each scene."

Othello explores several themes, including racism, love, jealousy and betrayal. Although the play was written about 400 years ago in approximately 1603, its story is relevant today.

"It starts out with someone upset about being passed over for a job promotion," Neal said.

The compelling and fast-moving play has been described as a tragedy of characters. Set in a private world, the story focuses on passions and personal lives of its four major characters, Othello, his wife, Desdemona; his lieutenant, Cassio, and his trusted adviser, Iago. Playing those key roles will be Larry Knight as Othello, Jessica Palombo as Desdemona, Garry Burgoyne as Cassio and Derek Coghlan as the villain, Iago. …

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