When the Mobtown Players take on Othello this month, Shakespeare’s thriller is streamlined to the essence of its tale of passion and love: a man for his wife, a soldier for his captain, and men for themselves. A lean script, quick pacing, and a surprising cast highlight Iago’s quest to destroy Othello.
Holding a place with Hamlet and King Lear as the greatest tragedies written in the English language, Othello clips at a pace unheard of in Shakespeare, never letting anyone breathe lest they uncover the plot. The battle for Othello’s soul simmers with passionate brutality, sings with violent poetry, and unfolds a love story with a more inevitable end than Romeo and Juliet.
The struggle between Othello and Iago has fascinated the world for centuries, but for the first time in the Baltimore area, Mobtown is giving the classic play a modern spin by casting a woman as Iago. Well-known Baltimore actress and frequent Mobtown player Melissa O’Brien will portray the coveted role in this production.
Director Marshall B Garrett says of his casting decision, “I didn’t go into auditions expecting to have a female Iago. I was open to it because I believe the best person for the role should play the role. In this case, the best actor was Melissa, and our interpretation of the story evolved from there.”
Tickets are $15 (general admission) and $12 (students and seniors). Tickets may be purchased at the door or online at http://www.mobtownplayers.com. The Mobtown Theater is located in the Meadow Mill complex at 3600 Clipper Mill Road in Hampden. Directions to the theater are available on the website.
One of Baltimore’s most popular theater groups, the Mobtown Players were founded in 1998, finding a permanent home in Hampden in 2003. The non-profit theater company is dedicated to making both classic work and contemporary plays accessible to a wide variety of audiences.