Dan Rowlands stars as Iago in an updated production of William Shakespeare’s “Othello,” running through May 20, at CNY Playhouse in ShoppingTown Mall. (Amelia Beamish Photo)
By Russ Tarby
DeWitt’s CNY Playhouse isn’t afraid to take chances, even if that means shuffling Shakespeare.
The little theater at ShoppingTown Mall is presently staging a visionary version of “Othello” updated from the 16th century to 1964 and set – not in medieval Venice – but in an Indiana insane asylum.
The play’s motivating force is the treacherous Iago, an officer who plots against his Moorish commanding officer, Othello, who has secretly wed the well-born and beautiful Desdemona.
The manipulative Iago, played here by experienced leading man Dan Rowlands, encourages Roderigo, who had loved Desdemona, to conspire against the play’s titular general. Intimating that Cassio is sleeping with the Moor’s wife, Iago eventually leads Othello into a murderous rage.
The CNY Playhouse version directed by Alan Stillman sees the events unfold in Iago’s disheveled mind after guilt has driven him insane and led to his institutionalization.
Besides Rowlands, the cast features James Sanders as the Moor, Kristina Rusho as Desdemona, Justin Polly as Roderigo, Trevor Hill as Cassio, Samuel Tamburo as the Duke of Venice, William Edward White as Desdemona’s senator-father, and Lynn Barbato King, Kimberly Grader and Alyssa Otoski as nurses.
Produced by Steve and Crystal Rowlands, the show has costumes by Kate Kisselstein, a set design by Alan Stillman and Chris Lupia, sound by Stillman and Robert Searle and lighting by William Edward White. The stage manager is Rachel Briscoe
This inventive rendition of “Othello” runs at 8 p.m., Thursday, Friday and Saturday, May 18, 19 and 20, at CNY Playhouse, located near the Macy’s entrance at on the second level of ShoppingTown Mall, in DeWitt. Tickets cost $17 on Thursday and $20 on Friday and Saturday; cnyplayhouse.org; 885-8960.