Ira Aldridge (1807-1867), a native of Lower Manhattan in New York, was the first black actor to perform a leading role on the legitimate stage in London. Lolita Chakrabarti’s 2012 play depicts his controversial debut as Othello at the Theatre Royal at Covent Garden in 1833.
“Ira Aldridge is masterfully portrayed by Paul Outlaw.”
- Ron Irwin, Tolucan Times
“The real delight of director Benjamin Pohlmeier’s spare studio staging, however, comes in the play’s window on the declamatory ‘teapot’ mannerisms of the century’s dominant acting style. Both Outlaw (whose stage presence recalls the late actor Paul Winfield) and the superb Nicola Bertram (as actress Ellen Tree) give a persuasive demonstration of emotional nuance under the constriction of ritualized gesture as they rehearse a scene.”
- Bill Raden, LA Weekly
“Outlaw and Bertram are masters of their art. Incredibly, as Aldridge and Tree rehearse, their stylized poses and declamations make us feel an electrically real relationship between Othello and Desdemona, both in its early bloom and in its tragic end.”
- Mark Hein, theatreghost.com