A review by Erin Fair
Kalean Ung and Evan Lewis Smith star in the INDEPENDENT SHAKESPEARE CO. production of OTHELLO, directed by Melissa Chalsma and now playing the ISC Studio Space in Atwater Village.
PHOTO CREDIT: Grettel Cortes
"Othello" is undeniably one of Shakespeare's most intimate tragedies. The universal human emotions of pride, prejudice, envy and passion permeate this production until the anguish reaches a fever pitch and spills out onto the fates of everyone involved. The design of the play consists of four metal platforms of different levels decorating the set. Using only elevation the set direction was able to create very striking still frames.
This is a classic case study of human psychology and the power of manipulation. "Othello" might be one of the greatest psychological thrillers ever made. Othello (Evan Lewis Smith), a revered general, husband to Desdemona (Kalean Ung), and best friend to Iago (David Melville), he is viewed as an accepted foreigner in an adopted country.
As one of the most nefarious villains in all of literature Iago's peers view him as a completely honest and trustworthy man. With that, he is able to become close to each of his victims and, through a web of lies and dishonest setups, Iago masterminds and spearheads the fate of everyone within his world. Mr. Melville was a delight as he brought a smarmy used car salesman quality to his version of Iago. As much as I want to despise his character, he was quite devilishly charming. Iago is the Joker to Othello's Bruce Wayne, and he is piloting a ship careening towards malevolence and vengeance.
Evan Smith captures Othello's heartbreaking trajectory, from proud nobility to brutish ferocity. We are swept up in his whirlwind of internal torment, but as with most Shakespearean tragedies the outcome is never contrary. Mr. Smith's portrayal of the Moor emphasizes a predominant show of strength, which plays well off of his foe David Melville. Ms. Ung however, was the most devastating. She was outstanding as the confused newlywed brought down by lies and envy. This multicultural cast of eight shines in every way and all deserve recognition. This play has my recommendation and should be required viewing for anyone studying The Bard.
Thru SATURDAY, MAY 7!
Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30pm; Sundays at 2pm
INDEPENDENT SHAKESPEARE CO. STUDIO
3191 Casitas Ave. #168
(between Fletcher Drive and Glendale Blvd.)
at the Atwater Crossing Arts + Innovation Complex
, Los Angeles, CA 90039
Free, ample lot and street parking.
Tickets are $35 Generous Admission; $20 General Admission; Free - 10 tickets for each performance (call for reservation)
Additional Photos by Mike Ditz
For tickets, please call (818) 710-6306 or buy online at www.iscla.org