Othello in Mask | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Othello in Mask 

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Polarity Ensemble Theatre seems to have substituted masks for costumes, sets, and lighting (mainly flashlights here). Zack Brenner's eight performers lift their masks when speaking the truth and otherwise allow their fixed facades to indicate prevarication--but facial coverings also paralyze the acting. This very raw Othello sacrifices eloquence to energy; three Cassios are two too many in a gender-neutral production. It does expose how innocence can be irrelevant. Mason Hill's eager Iago, with his trickster persona, is almost a commedia villain, while Cliff London's Othello is nobly trusting and Leah Morrow's Desdemona is Kabuki-sly. Abigail Trabue's anguished but stalwart Emilia holds her own well against the jealousy that infects more characters than Othello. --Lawrence Bommer a Through 12/10: Fri-Sat 8 PM, Sun 3 PM, Side Project Theatre, 1439 W. Jarvis, 847-293-7705, $10-$20.

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