Jun 1, 2009

The LAByrinth Connection

I'm at least as intrigued by the new Othello as is Garrett, and the return-of-Peter Sellars angle is among my favorites. Not least because I had the mixed blessing of first seeing John Ortiz, who will play the Moor opposite Philip Seymour Hoffman's Iago, in Sellars' deeply odd, stark Taper production of The Persians back in 1994; Ortiz made a fierce impression as a supremely pissed-off, Guevara-esque Xerxes. Today's announcement that Ortiz and Hoffman are ceding artistic directorship of their LAByrinth Theatre to Stephen Adly Guirgis, Yul Vazquez, and Mimi O'Donnell, reminded me of another connection: appearing in both that Persians and in Guirgis' last play at the Public, Little Flower of East Orange was deaf actor Howie Seago, a powerful bear of a man with an unnerving blur of a stage voice. I wouldn't have been at all surprised to see Sellars finding a place for Seago in his Othello, except that Seago is occupied with another Shakespeare gig at the moment.

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