By Bob Hicks
The trouble with being a literary or theatrical icon is that you get into a loop, repeating yourself again and again and again. Think Captain Ahab’s going to catch that whale this time around and become a prosperous maritime merchant with a wife and brood of happy kids? Fat chance.
So, yes, poor Desdemona gets done in again. But because Imago Theatre‘s Stage Left Lost isn’t Othello, at least the circumstances change. And there’s some question about who actually done the deed. Jerry Mouawad’s “opera without words” is a brilliantly accomplished variation on Shakespeare’s themes, meaning that Mouawad and his collaborators aren’t bound by the ordinary rules of literary destiny. As compelling as the show’s emotional and psychological variations are, Stage Left Lost is even more a love letter to the conventions of the theater and a deft rethinking of its central elements: It reshuffles the balance among words (forget about ’em), movement and music to sometimes startling efect. And, of, yes: It puts the audience backstage — stage left, to be precise, from which vantage they view the action from inside out.
You really ought to give this one a shot. My complete review is in this morning’s Oregonian; pick it up in the dead tree version or link to it here.
Rachael Parrell: Desdemona dies twice. Photo: Jerry Mouawad