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Othello (New York Theatre Workshop)

Members say: Great acting, Absorbing, Intense, Great staging, Ambitious
84
Critics
78
36 reviews
Members
87
104 reviews
 

Golden Globe nominee David Oyelowo ('Selma') stars in the title role opposite Daniel Craig's Iago in Shakespeare’s tragedy, directed by Tony winner Sam Gold.
... Read more

An intense and intimate mounting of Shakespeare's famous play about a Moorish general who elopes with the daughter of a Venetian Senator, then falls prey to a vicious plot hatched by the man he trusts most. Performed in modern-day dress and set in a military barracks. Note: Tickets for this production are pretty much sold out. 

 


Reviews (140)

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
78
Avg Score

95
The New York Times

"Oyelowo and Craig enter the ranks of first-rate classical stage actors. I’ve never seen an 'Othello' as convincingly inexorable as this one...What’s so thrilling about this 'Othello' is that everything that occurs is so irrevocably inevitable...It’s a no-exit theater of war, invisibly stage-managed by a military underling with an instinct for human frailties...This incandescent production makes it possible for us to speak with rare understanding of this Othello—and this Iago—as they are." Full Review

40
Theatermania

"Gold's lethargic production never delivers...We leave the theater completely unfazed and emotionally untouched...At least Craig makes a memorably sociopathic Iago: He reaches out to each of us in his highly personal soliloquies, nearly winning us to his cause...Oyelowo seems to be in an entirely different production...No matter how loud he gets, our minds still wander, unable to focus on a performance that masks sloppiness in volume." Full Review

90
Time Out New York

"Gold knows when to increase the volume on his contemporary touches and when simply to trust the words. This isn’t a radical re-interpretation of 'Othello' so much as a fresh coat of paint and a strong, clear reading, never forgetting our present moment...The acting throughout is vivid, muscular and great on the ear. Craig and Oyelowo are superb together, and they give the language heft and fire...Oyelowo is the most physically imposing, emotionally stricken Othello in memory." Full Review

75
Variety

"Oyelowo makes a fierce Othello, using his imposing physical presence and resonant voice to reduce this noble character to a more primal state...Craig takes advantage of his military surroundings to add another dimension to Iago’s character. He’s still the sly villain who takes abstract delight in the destruction of his victims...The female characters are the only ones not well-served in the production’s military environment." Full Review

80
The Guardian (UK)

"In Oyelowo’s emotive performance, which suggests Othello’s otherness with a slight African accent, there’s a vein of self-loathing that runs fast and wide within him...Oyelowo finds the most to do with the verse, rendering it clearly and lyrically. Most of the rest convey the sense of the language rather than enjoying it, but perhaps that’s what Gold wants...Still, he and his dramaturg, Michael Sexton, find accessibility and humor in the text and there are finely varied performances." Full Review

75
DC Theatre Scene

"While this 'Othello' can be uncomfortable and even annoying, it is impossible for me to dismiss Sam Gold’s often startlingly effective production...Beneath Sam Gold’s attention-grabbing choices, in the last of its three hours, we are left with Shakespeare’s words performed by a first-rate cast...It’s natural to focus on the two movie stars, and they deserve the attention. But part of what makes the performances impressive is the way they blend in with the supporting cast." Full Review

80
The Huffington Post

"Craig makes an altogether strong showing as the poison-tongued Iago…Oyelowo comes naturally to Othello...This worthy production is not likely to erase memories of 'Othellos' past; the contemporary slant has resonance with its references of current-day politics and current-day war zones, but the majesty of play and language is—inevitably—diminished. But it’s fair to say that the Craig-Oyelowo-Gold 'Othello' is something to see, and will not be soon forgotten." Full Review

70
Lighting & Sound America

"By any standard, this is an 'Othello' to treasure—original in conception and packed with savage emotions...Both actors handle Shakespeare's verse superbly, but Craig has the knack of making it seem like everyday speech, each new thought freshly arrived at...Even if you have seen 'Othello' many times, Oyelowo and Craig make the play seems surprisingly new...But this is a classic case of directorial overreach that constantly draws one's attention away from the drama at center stage." Full Review

85
Talkin' Broadway

"So compelling are the issues raised, and so effectively are they addressed, that the tiny missteps matter more than they ought to...As good as the staging is, it loses credibility in the final quarter...That it hardly matters is a testament to how much this company gets right in every other way...So powerful is the humanity on display here that even though Gold doesn't pretend to have the answers, you'll remain consumed by the questions he asks long after you leave the theater." Full Review

60
The Wall Street Journal

"This production is more a good first try than a fully realized theatrical creation...Mr. Gold has given us yet another version of the same kind of the-time-is-now 'Othello' that I’ve seen in theaters all over the U.S...Mr. Craig's Iago is a pencil sketch rather than an oil painting, strong and forceful but devoid of poetic depth, much the same things that could be said about the production as a whole...Outside of Mr. Oyelowo, the best thing about this 'Othello' is its intimacy." Full Review

75
AM New York

"An intriguing and intimate production...Craig takes a surprisingly casual and quiet approach to Iago, eschewing the showiness and signs of villainy that are associated with the role...Oyelowo, initially sharp and well-composed, eventually turns wounded and emotional as Othello...Some of Gold’s choices are questionable, but it’s well-executed overall...Would it have been so terrible to abridge the text by a half hour or so, especially since the audience is made to sit upon wooden benches?" Full Review

95
The Hollywood Reporter

"Sam Gold's tremendously exciting, sensationally well-acted modern-dress production...Both actors are fighting fit in roles they seem born to play, the subtlety as well as the terrifying intensity of their work magnified by the startling intimacy of watching them up close...The brilliant match of this production's Othello and Iago is fortified by the entire ensemble's muscular performance style and vigorous grasp of the language...This visceral production is not to be missed." Full Review

85
New York Magazine / Vulture

"Ripping good modern-dress production starring Oyelowo and Craig under Sam Gold’s masterly direction...Oyelowo easily wraps his mouth around Othello’s triple-crème verse yet makes a fully believable spectacle of the irrationality that nibbles away at all that beauty...And Craig, in his best NY stage outing to date, makes something disturbingly familiar out of his casually amoral Iago...This production brings us closer to the cold heart of sociopathy than anything outside of the nightly news." Full Review

70
New York Daily News

"The good news is that the starry pairing is just as potent onstage as it is on the page of Shakespeare's tragedy of jealousy run amok. The two movie stars ably talk the talk...At times, however, the three-plus-hour production directed by Sam Gold doesn't do the actors favors...At times actors speak for extended stretches in complete darkness and at other times lit only by headlamps or a dim bulb...The concept comes off as gimmicky, not illuminating." Full Review

40
Times Square Chronicles

"Daniel Craig is the highlight...The colorblind casting of Iago’s wife, Emilia (a wonderful Marsha Stephanie Blake) takes away from Othello’s uniqueness...Bianca doesn’t die in the original, so why have all the women murdered?...It seems since Ivo van Hove, it is OK to take away from what a playwright writes, his intent or his meaning, if he is dead and cannot fight back...I just find this so wrong and I stand up for the playwright." Full Review

65
Deadline

"David Oyelowo and Daniel Craig bring exceptional technical skill and at times riveting commitment...What’s missing in Craig's performance is the caustic burn of evil that drives Iago...What seems like a determined lack of connection with evil is not the only off-note of Gold’s production. It seems designed to disengage the audience at every turn...Oyelowo, however, builds in near-terrifying power to the play’s complicated climax." Full Review

90
CurtainUp

"Though Craig's Iago may have a slight edge in the first half, Oyelowo impressively captures the mix of brave warrior and innocent naive when it comes to his love life. By the time his General falls prey to the suspicions planted by his duplicitous second banana, this is definitely a two-star triumph...Under Gold's direction, the rest of the ensemble lends strong support...Whatever I found less than ideal before intermission turned completely compelling during the the play's big finale." Full Review

90
Newsday

"Inspired, blazingly muscular and visceral. It is also as raw and real as the unfinished wood on the walls...This is high-concept Shakespeare...But it is also high-intelligence and passionate. Unlike many Othellos, who get upstaged by the more theatrical Iago, Oyelowo is just as charismatic...In Iago's soliloquies...Craig's hearty voice hollows into rich, menacing beauty...Gold’s direction is a rowdy universe away from his sensitive touch in the Tony-winning 'Fun Home,' but just as authentic." Full Review

70
NorthJersey.com

"Gold’s conception, with its modernisms, is actually quite faithful in substance to the drama Shakespeare wrote...His staging is a vibrant effort to provide motivation and context for characters whose actions don’t always add up...Not everything he’s done in taking Shakespeare modern works equally well, but Gold has succeeded in providing a fresh, smart and imaginative look at an extremely well-known play." Full Review

93
TheaterScene.net

"This powerful, intimate, immediate and contemporary production in which the audience is never more than four rows from the action is a riveting experience of a play one might have seen many times before. While the production may be cool in the emotional department, the diction is such that every word registers and the muscular, testosterone-driven cast is always compelling." Full Review

80
The Wrap

"Gold has injected Othello and his soldiers with so much testosterone that the stolen handkerchief emerges as just one other reason to beat somebody’s head in. Schall’s direction of the fight scenes leave the audience gasping. It’s all very movie realistic, as are Oyelowo’s many epileptic fits, and he effectively performs the play’s second half as one long mad scene...As insightful as the staging often is, the female characters don’t always make sense in this man’s world." Full Review

75
CitiTour

"The chief pleasure of Sam Gold’s often bracing, sometimes strangely directed production is watching Daniel Craig hand in a career-defining performance as the malevolent, malicious Iago...Unfortunately, this inventive director too often makes odd, distracting staging choices...Fortunately, Gold trusts his main actors, especially Craig and Oyelowo, and Shakespeare’s text enough of the time that the production is mostly riveting." Full Review

80
Front Mezz Junkies

"Craig's a wonderfully engaging performance, worthy of the hype and the movie star excitement surrounding this production. The rest of the casting is fascinating and diverse, heaving with masculinity and intensity...In Gold’s creation, this 'Othello' powers through, as if on a military charge against the enemy. Its energy is exhilarating. The power lies in the snippets of humanity that weaves their way through." Full Review

90
NY1

“Shakespeare at its most exhilarating. Director Sam Gold delivers a contemporary in-your-face rendering of the 400-year-old tragedy that feels thrillingly fresh and entirely relevant…Daniel Craig and David Oyelowo prove themselves phenomenal stage actors. For three-plus hours, they lead a first-class company in this devastating tale of love, jealousy and betrayal…This is a high-energy death spiral featuring some of the best-choreographed stage fighting I have ever seen." Full Review

55
Financial Times (UK)

"The overall effect is uneven, because ‘honest Iago’ needs to convey a semblance of plausibility in his interactions with Othello. Yet Craig is so continually shifty that you wouldn’t believe him if he told you his eyes were blue…Though he grows into the titular role...Oyelowo also fails to strike the right balance as he struggles to find his rhythm early on and doesn’t initially convey much heroic grandeur. His downfall thus arouses relatively little pity." Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
87
Avg Score

100
Absorbing, Great acting, Great staging

See it if If you like shakespeare and like a reimagined show

Don't see it if you are a traditionalist

92
Absorbing, Great acting, Masterful, Riveting

See it if you love well-acted Shakespeare, thoughtfully directed, and creatively designed.

Don't see it if you have a hard time sitting in comfortable seats for a long time or Shakespeare just isn't your thing.

66
Ambitious, Indulgent, Disappointing, Overrated, Great staging

See it if You want to see two movie stars on stage

Don't see it if You like Shakespeare's plays to be staged " traditionally ". This production definitely is not.....

88
Absorbing, Edgy, Great acting, Riveting, Great staging

See it if You want to experience a unique version of this classic.The company is terrific and the actors really get in your face at times.

Don't see it if Sitting for 3 1/2 hours on wooden bleachers is not for you. There are thin cushions on each seat,but not much back support. It's worth it!

90
Absorbing, Intense, Relevant, Vigorous

See it if you can get a ticket - this energetic production is stunning. I hope the talk of a Broadway transfer comes to fruition.

Don't see it if you don't like Shakespeare in a modern setting or you can't handle a 3.5 hour show. Every performances resonates and crackles w/ intensity.

85
Ambitious, Great acting, Relevant, Confusing

See it if you seek modern interpretations of WS, if you like intimate theater, if you want to see these strong actors.

Don't see it if you're easily distracted by modern brand names on cast's clothing. Or if you can't sit still. Or if scolding, relentless ushers bug you.

79
Ambitious, Great acting, Disappointing

See it if Great acting marred by instrusive direction. Slowly paced and key scenes set in darkness. At times Crag seemed bored but Oyelowo brilliant.

Don't see it if You like traditiional Shakespeare prodctions. The National Theater production with Rory Kinnear and Adrian Lester was far superior.

90
Absorbing, Great acting, Intense, Masterful, Great staging

See it if you want to see an exquisite adaptation of Othello with captivating performances and clever production design

Don't see it if you hate Shakespeare and are only interested in going because it's a hot ticket, long scenes of darkness bother you or 3+ hours is too long

Also This production succeeded at remaining faithful enough to the source m... Read more Read less

70
Intense, Overrated, Long, Energetic, Ugly set/costumes

See it if you can't get enough of WS. NYTW production is fine, but nothing special. See the superior Natl Theater Live version (modern/military).

Don't see it if you want the verse spoken well (only Craig and Oyelowo are strong). The first 20 minutes are tedious; awful pauses. Act II is stronger.

Also I went in with high expectations, but this is NOT Royal Shakespeare Co... Read more Read less

85
Absorbing, Intense, Must see, Reimagined, Slightly-uneven acting among the minor characters

See it if you're a fan of William Shakespeare's works and open to a retelling that blends the traditional language with contemporary costumes and set.

Don't see it if you're Shakespeare purist or don't mind missing some stunning work from Daniel Craig (a fairly intense Iago) and David Oyelowo (stunning!).

Also There isn't a bad seat in the house and Othello maximizes floor space ... Read more Read less

91
Absorbing, Ambitious, Great acting, Intense, Well staged

See it if You love emotional, intense, well acted dramas. You enjoy top acting in an intimate setting. Modern touches help make the time effortless.

Don't see it if you do not like Shakespeare or mixing contemporary staging/costumes with classic dialogue. sometimes difficult to understand speech patterns

94
Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Great staging

See it if you enjoy powerful intimate unique theatre w/ superb cast that holds your attention for 3hr show. don't have to be shakespeare fan to enjoy!

Don't see it if you like traditional theatre or absolutely hate shakespeare and don't have the attention span for an intense 3 hr production

96
Great acting, Intelligent, Masterful, Riveting, Great writing

See it if A spectacular production. Craig and Oyelowo are mesmerizing. The modern day setting lends resonance. The intimate setting is perfect.

Don't see it if The seating is not the most comfortable. The set is perfection, but with audience on 3 sides, you will not see everything all the time.

Also I was blown away by this production. Craig's Iago is at once cunning, ... Read more Read less

92
Great acting, Intense, Riveting, Powerful, Great staging

See it if you can get a ticket.

Don't see it if you don't like Shakespeare or Shakespeare in modern dress.

82
Great acting, Intense, Riveting, Classic, Great staging

See it if you're a Shakespeare buff. This is a interesting production with unique staging & masterful acting. David Oyelowo is magnificent as Othello.

Don't see it if you're not into Shakespeare. Seems obvious, but despite the contemporary setting they keep the Shakespearian dialogue. So you need to focus.

89
Absorbing, Edgy, Great acting, Intense

See it if you enjoy classic Shakespearean language with an updated staging. Prepare to spend three hours in rapt attention...

Don't see it if Don't like the classic Shakespearean language full of thees and thous. The production is in the Round so some dialogue is lost.

Also The rumors are that this production might get a Broadway run. That is ... Read more Read less

80
Absorbing, Ambitious, Great acting, Intense, Profound

See it if You enjoy well done Shakespeare. While long (3hrs), it was beautifully told story. Great acting, an interesting setting, fun to watch.

Don't see it if You ADORE Shakespeare: They go off script a little, and Craig's Iago could have been more evil. However, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Beautiful.

92
Great acting, Intense, Masterful, Must see, Great staging

See it if you want to see two great actors in an intense contemporary staging in an intimate off-Broadway house.

Don't see it if you dislike contemporary stagings of Shakespeare, performed at full length.

94
Edgy, Great acting, Masterful, Riveting, Great staging

See it if You like modern versions of Shakespearean tragedies played with an edge by great actors Craig & Oyelowo;superb cast in intimate setting

Don't see it if You are a traditionalist;dislike the Bard's play tweaked to show the versatility of his work brought into modern times

Also Some people mock big movie actors as overpaid and pampered. As a membe... Read more Read less

90
Great acting, Intense, Must see, Riveting, Great staging

See it if you appreciate excellent acting by Craig & Oyelowo, a unique modern staging of the Shakespeare classic, muscular/physical production.

Don't see it if Shakespearean language confuses you, you don't like modern-dress & staging of classics, you cannot sit through 3 hrs and 10 minutes.

82
Absorbing, Edgy, Great acting, Riveting, Modernized

See it if you're fans of Oyelowo/Craig. They are more than star names, they really make this work. Oyelowo is a nuanced Othello. Fine acting by cast.

Don't see it if you really hate modernized versions of Shakespeare, even though this does work.

82
Ambitious, Great acting, Masterful

See it if Powerful performances by the leads. Intimate venue, with compelling staging and lighting. Thought-provoking interpretations.Great ensemble.

Don't see it if Some familiarity with the play will be useful for context purposes. Worth seeing in a small, in-the-round theater like this one.

94
Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Masterful, Must see

See it if best Othello I have seen

Don't see it if hoy líen superficial and comercial plays!!

90
Great acting, Riveting, Powerful, Engaging, Great staging

See it if You like your Shakespeare masculine and muscular. Oyelowo and Craig OWN the resonant language. Other roles also compelling. Great staging.

Don't see it if You dislike Shakespeare or think Othello should be more dithery and nuanced. Oyelowo's interpretation is emotionally full-on.

88
Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Great staging

See it if you want an excellent version of Othello. Daniel Craig & David Oyelowo are brilliant. Staging is very intimate. 3 hours flew by.

Don't see it if you like your Shakespeare to be in period dress. I care more about the acting. When Shakespeare is well done, every line is clear & relevant