Posts Tagged Robert Campbell

“Othello” (Presented by Shady Shakespeare Co.) – Play Review

Shady Shakespeare company is presenting “Othello” at Sanborn Park in Saratoga (see more information below).  Written around 1600, “Othello” is a tragic love story that revolves around four central characters: Othello (Michael Wayne Rice), a Moorish general in the Venetian army, Desdemona (beautifully played by Anne Yumi Kobori), Iago, Othello’s ensign (Robert Campbell is superbly devlilish in the role), and Othello’s lieutenant, Cassio (Alex Draa).

Othello Relating His Adventures - Steel engrav...

Othello Relating His Adventures – Steel engraving, approximately 7.5 x 10 inches (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Othello, a moor who is also lower in rank, is accused of alluring Christian Desdemona, a senator’s daughter, with his “cunning” and “foul charms”, and is asked a crucial question in the senate, “Did you by indirect and forced courses subdue and poison this young maid’s affections? Or came it by request and such fair question as soul to soul affordeth?”  Othello succeeds in convincing the Senator that he did not lure beautiful Desdemon by “witchcraft” but instead their love was mutual and she was drawn to him and fell in love with him because of his sad and compelling stories as a general who fought many wars.  “She lov’d me for the dangers I had pass’d, And I lov’d her that she did pity them”, he says.

Iago hates Othello for previously promoting Cassio, and is jealous of Cassio, and plots to get him drunk and then persuades dissolute stammering Roderigo to draw Cassio into a fight.  (Special shoutout to Erik Browne for doing a fantastic job in his role as Roderigo).  Othello blames Cassio for the disturbance and strips him of his rank.  Cassio is distraught and mourns the blemish on his fine reputation and Iago says, “Reputation is an idle and most false imposition; oft got without merit, and lost without deserving.”   But Cassio wants his reputation and rank restored and seeks the favor of Desdemona and implores her to persuade her husband on his behalf, to reinstate him.

Iago takes this as a perfect opportunity to persuade Othello to be watchful of Cassio and Desdemona and the seeds for suspicion are planted.  Iago masterfully works to create proof of Desdemona and Cassio’s alliance and Othello’s suspicion is strengthened.  Herein, where the “green-ey’d monster, jelousy”  raises its ugly head that the beautiful story of Othello and Desdemona’s love sharply transforms into a disturbing tragedy that in the end, wreaks havoc and creates mayhem.  Despite Othello’s ill treatment of Desdemona, she tells her maid, Emilia (Melissa Weinstein), “his unkindness may defeat my life, But never taint my love.”.  And thus Othello who loves deeply, “not wisely, but too well”, sets himself on a path that defeats her life and ultimately breaks his heart.  Director Dawn Monique Williams has done a fabulous job and also great kudos to Caitlyn Nichols (Stage Manager) and Jennie Rodriguez (Costume Designer).  I call “Othello” a must-see performance of this theater season.

Othello and Desdemona, by Alexandre-Marie Colin

Othello and Desdemona, by Alexandre-Marie Colin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Shady Shakespeare Theater Company makes Shakespeare accessible and entertaining by maintaining the richness of the language while also making it less challenging to understand it by creating a beautiful historical context, with enticing consumes, beautiful staging, and through awesome performance by talented artists.  Shady Shakespeare will be presenting “Othello” and “Pride and Prejudice” on alternate weekends at Sanborn Park in Saratoga, until August, 24.  For tickets, go to

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Romeo & Juliet – Play Review and Information about Shady Shakespeare Theater Co.

Shady Shakespeare Theater Company produces outstanding performances of the works of Shakespeare, in the park, in Silicon Valley, with a commitment to making Shakespeare accessible to people of all ages and backgrounds.  It was found in 1999 by Dinna Myers, Sara Betts and Jeff Day.  It is a 501 (C) 3, non profit organization and almost entirely run by volunteers.  Many of the performances take place in beautiful and cozy setting at Sanborn Park, in Saratoga.   Shady Shakespeare Theater Company is funded by corporate grants, philanthropic activities, fundraising, and private donations.  Besides outstanding shows in the park, the organization is also involved in school outreach program to bring the excitement of live theater into the classrooms.   This is done through summer Shakespeare camps for kids and teens, through modular classes that schools can choose, and through after school theater performance programs at schools.


I have seen many absolutely incredible performances by Shady Shakespeare Theater Company.  Some of the memorable ones include, King Lear – , and Lion in Winter – .  Romeo and Juliet is currently playing till the end of August, 2013, at Sanborn Skyline County Park in Saratoga and you can purchase tickets at . It is directed by Jeanie Smith and John Bernard is the Lighting Designer.  Robert Campbell in the role of Romeo and Michael Camplin in the role of Mercutio are incredible.  However, it is Celia Maurice as Juliet’s nurse and Briana Mitchell in the role of Juliet who carry the show.  They are both simply outstanding and give completely engaging, flawless performance.  Celia Maurice as modern day Juliet looks stunning.  Sara Sparks and Christopher Tani are the stage managers and have done a great job, on low budget.  We hope you will support Shady Shakespeare with your donation, with volunteerism, with spreading the word, and by going to watch their performances.


Quotes from Romeo & Juliet


If you love Shakespearean language as I do, with its vivid expression, rich metaphors that link the concepts, poetic free verse that makes it highly emotive and rhetorical, flowery and dramatic; if you love the sheer beauty of the language, then below is a short synopsis of Romeo & Juliet with some selected quotes.


Don’t miss this beautiful performance where “two houses both alike in dignity” clash, but young lovers from two warring houses of Montagues and Capulets, fall in love, and Juliet laments, “my only love, sprung from my only hate.”   When Romeo hears her speak from her balcony, “O Romeo, Romeo!  Wherefore art thou Romeo?” he is readily willing to give up his name, as Juliet says the famous lines, “What’s in a name?  That which we call a rose, by any other name, would smell as sweet.”  Juliet makes Romeo swear of his faithfulness, but not “by the moon, the inconstant moon, that monthly changes in her circled orb, lest that thy love prove likewise variable,” but instead, she says, “swear by thy gracious self, which is the god of my idolatry.”  Their love is so alike in the height and depth of intensity that young lovers frequently experience, including their loathing to part, “good night, good night!  parting is such sweet sorrow, that I shall say good night till it be morrow.”  Later, Juliet bids her nurse to get news from Romeo, but the nurse painfully tortures her by delaying sharing the news, and Juliet laments about the slowness of old folks, “old folks – many feign as they were dead; unwieldy, slow, heavy and pale as lead.”  Friar Laurence ominously warns the young lovers to temper down the intensity of their passion, for “these violent delights have violent ends, therefore love moderately; long love doth so; too swift arrives as tardy as too slow.” 


And then this beautiful dialogue between Romeo & Juliet, when Romeo comes to spend the night with her, after their wedding, but must leave at the crack of dawn, and tells Juliet he hears the lark, but Juliet persuading him to stay some more, says, “It was the nightingale, and not the lark, that pierced the fearful hollow of thine ear,” and Romeo responds, “Night’s candles are burnt out, and jocund day stands tiptoe on the misty mountain-tops”.  Juliet finally acknowledges that Romeo must leave, “It is the lark that sings so out of tune, straining harsh discords and unpleasing sharps.”  While leaving, Romeo assures her that they will meet again and have many years to talk about their current troubles “and all these woes shall serve for sweet discourses in our time to come.”  Later when Romeo hears that Juliet is dead, he persuades the apothecary to sell him poison and the apothecary reluctantly agrees, saying “my poverty, but not my will, consents.” Romeo responds, “I pay thy poverty, and not thy will.”   Don’t miss a chance to hear the beautiful language and see once again the performance of this most famous love story of all times, for “there never was a story of more woe, than this, of Juliet and her Romeo.”  For tickets, go to



Romeo & Juliet

Romeo & Juliet (Photo credit:

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