Reviewed by David Kashimba
Photo by Stephen Underwood

Shakespeare’s Othello, performed by Marin Shakespeare Company at Dominican College’s outdoor theatre in San Rafael, shows how delicate human emotions are when confronted by love and how easily devotion can be swayed, by treacherous suggestions, into hatred and revenge.

Othello (Aldo Billingslea) is a heroic general serving in a foreign land. Very trustworthy, he in turn trusts everyone, including his first officer Iago (Paul Sulzman). Iago, however, is an officer who feels his merit has gone unrewarded and this gnaws at him, breeding hatred and jealousy toward Othello. But Iago is an excellent guerrilla fighter and wages his war against Othello in the shadows of the general’s imagination. Masterfully, Iago weaves distrust in Othello toward his new bride, the beautiful and honorable Desdemona (Jennifer Le Blanc).

What’s most interesting about this drama is how this perfect marriage, full of love and trust, can so easily turn to violence and death. Desdemona is the ultimate wife who continues to love and be true to her husband even when he accuses her of dishonesty and abuses her because he believes she is unfaithful. She totally accepts her fate as Othello’s violence towards her escalates. Othello too continues to love her no matter how strong his hate for her grows.

Indeed, falling in love can be far more risky than going to war. There are no clear rules of engagement. You’re never even sure who the enemy is. You suddenly find yourself walking through a minefield, stepping lightly over tripwires, trying to maintain a very precarious balance. What was once an innocent kiss can so easily twist into the kiss of death.

For tickets or more information about this powerful drama call (415) 499-4488 or visit www.marinshakespeare.org.

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