The Arts Club Theatre Company

Othello, the Moor of Venice
by William Shakespeare

Venue: The Stanley Theatre
Dates: 24 September - 26 October 2003

Reviewer: Jane Penistan


Director John Cooper Costume design Rebekka Sorensen Set design Ted Roberts Lighting design Del Surjik Sound design Jeff Corness Fight director Nicholas Harrison Stage manager Caryn Fehr


Othello, Arts Club, Vancouver

Bill Millerd opens the 40th season of the Arts Club Theatre with a sumptuously staged Othello, the Moor of Venice, by William Shakespeare. How fitting to mark such an auspicious occasion by presenting a work by one of the world's greatest playwrights. The script used is that of the Applause First Folio edition, prepared and annotated by Neil Freeman, a professor at UBC. Before the start of the performance on the opening night, the Mayor of Vancouver announced that the month of October should be Arts Cub Theatre Month, in honour of the 40 seasons that the Arts Club has given Vancouver.

The lights went up on the stage Ted Roberts has backed with a creamy marble colonnade, a fitting background for Rebekka Sorensen's lavish elegant costumes. Del Surjik's lighting enhances the glittering brocade and shimmering silk of the rich clothes and the bright uniforms of the soldiers. He also lights small areas of the large stage for intimate scenes and subtly shades the larger darker and menacing scenes. John Cooper directs an experienced cast, several of them well known to Vancouver audiences. Tom McBeath is the jealous Iago. Philip Akin, from Toronto, is Othello, and Megan Leitch the innocent and devoted Desdemona. The comradeship between commander and supposedly loyal ensign and the familiarity of long serving soldiers is missing between





Othello and Iago. Thusthe impact of he intrusion of a beautiful young woman and the youthful, handsome, intelligent Cassio (Ben Bass), a jumped up newcomer to the garrison, loses some of its force, though it still fires Iago's jealousy and envy. Haig Sutherland is a very convincing gulled "foolish gentleman", Roderigo. Jillian Fargey portrays a supportive Emilia, a woman of the world, good friend to the innocent and lovelorn, betrayed Desdemona, and used wife of Iago. Authority and humanity are personified in John Innes's Duke of Venice and later, his shocked and sympathetic Lodovico.

Nicholas Harrison has choreographed the fights to be short, fierce and frightening in their intensity. This powerful tragedy reveals the best and the worst in human nature, so turning the ordered world to chaos.

Othello runs at the Stanley Theatre, Granville and 12th, September 24 - October 26, 2003, at 8,00 p.m., Tuesday - Sunday, with matinees at 2.00 p.m. Wednesdays and Saturdays. For more information, special events, reservations and ticket prices call The Arts Club Box Office, 604-687-1644, or visit

Copyright Jane Penistan 2003.


2003, Jane Penistan