St. George’s Episcopal Church, Germantown, Tenn.
October 5 – 17, 2010
Dan McCleary on Johnny Lee Davenport
“Director Dan McCleary . . . takes a very different approach in Tennessee Shakespeare Company’s riveting new production of ‘Othello,’ running at St. George’s Episcopal Church. One can pinpoint the exact moment that “the green-eyed monster” of jealousy enters his body. Before then, actor Johnny Lee Davenport is the warmest, most likable warrior-general you’ve seen. He practically sighs with every glance from his new wife, Desdemona. His speeches are gentle and even humble.
When Iago (played by Paul Bernardo) plants the seed of suspicion and jealousy into Othello’s brain, it looks like a poisoning. You can almost see Iago hitting the enter key on an invisible e-mail opened moments later in Othello’s mind, where the virus begins to unpack and fan out in his brain.
His system is immediately infected. It manifests in physical signs, gives him epilepsy, causes his programming to become sluggish. At times, his whole system crashes into catatonic stillness. Davenport, who has played the title role eight previous times, is perhaps the most sympathetic Othello I have seen.”
—Christopher Blank, The Commercial Appeal (October 15, 2010)
“Johnny Lee Davenport’s powerful performance as Othello demands attention and praise.”
—Cole Adams, Arts Memphis Member Reviews (October 11, 2010)