- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 8, 2005

Everyone seemed to agree that the villain stole the show at the Shakespeare Theatre’s premiere of “Othello” on Tuesday, with Patrick Page shining as a stunningly convincing Iago. D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, who’d spent the day welcoming evacuees from New Orleans at Washington Dulles International Airport, said the acting “just blew me away. I’ve seen this play so many times, and he is the best Iago I’ve ever seen.”

After taking their bows, Mr. Page and the rest of the notable cast — including Avery Brooks in the title role — joined Finlay and Willee Lewis, Judith Terra and other theater supporters at Cafe Atlantico for a happy kickoff to the company’s 2005-2006 season that included drinks, hors d’oeuvres and more compliments all around.

Shakespeare Theatre Artistic Director Michael Kahn, who received a surprise birthday cake during the festivities, directed his company’s third production of “Othello.” He said he was astounded at how well Mr. Brooks and Mr. Page were able to connect and compromise on the set: “It could have been hell with two fabulously strong personalities, but it was like a duet the whole time.”

Before Mr. Kahn blew out the candles (his birthday is today), he took Mr. Brooks’ hand, beamed and told the crowd they had “never had a day that wasn’t creative” throughout the entire rehearsal period. Mr. Page beamed alongside his wife, Paige Davis, host of TLC’s home-makeover show “Trading Spaces” (they met while touring together in “Beauty and the Beast,” with Mr. Page playing the candlestick and Miss Davis a dust mop).

Mr. Page, 43, said his performance in “Othello” was formed by professional experience — he played Iago once before, about 20 years ago — and the wisdom that comes with age.

“I know myself a little better,” he said. “So I’m able, I hope, to reveal more of myself in the part.”

Later, he explained that while it’s usually “more fun to be the bad guy, it’s also kind of icky: You go home and feel like you need to take a shower.”

Christina Ianzito

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