Hoffman and Ortiz to Again Share Stage in Othello

News   Hoffman and Ortiz to Again Share Stage in Othello
Labyrinth Theatre Company collaborators John Ortiz and Philip Seymour Hoffman will head the cast of a forthcoming production of Othello, the latter told The New York Times Magazine.
Philip Seymour Hoffman and John Ortiz
Philip Seymour Hoffman and John Ortiz Photo by Aubrey Reuben

Hoffman will play the sinister Iago opposite Ortiz's Othello in a staging directed by Peter Sellars for Germany's Vienna Festival. LAB is said to be affiliated with the production. According to the Wiener Festwochen website, the show, which will co-star Marin Ireland (The Ruby Sunrise) as Desdemona, will play Vienna's Theater Akzent (June 14-20, 2009).

The production will be performed in English with German surtitles. The design team includes Gregory Holzinger (set), Mimi O'Donnell (costumes), James F. Ingalls (lighting) and Mark Gray (sound).

"I've never been all that interested in playing Hamlet," Hoffman told The New York Times. "Hamlet is a role most actors are supposed to want to play, which is probably why it's never intrigued me that much. But Iago — I guess his demons interest me more. Iago is a military guy, and I like the idea of him being a general like Wesley Clark, who has accomplished so much in an arena where there's death and, suddenly, he walks into a nonmilitary world, and he's no longer the guy he thinks he deserves to be. To my mind, Iago actually loves Othello. And it's hard not to think of Obama when you read Othello now… It's fun to think about the possibilities, but as always, I can't believe I'm doing this. It seems impossible to me."

Hoffman and Ortiz last shared the Off-Broadway stage in LAB's production of Jack Goes Boating. The two previously worked together on The Last Days of Judas Iscariot and Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train.

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