The Theater: Tragic Handkerchief

On the tiny stage of a straw-hat theater in Cambridge, Mass, last week Paul Robeson made his first U.S. appearance in Othello. After seeing him, scholars might still insist that Shakespeare meant Othello for a Moor and not a Negro. But drama lovers well might ask why, having played it twelve years ago in London, Robeson waited so long to play it over here. For in spite of muffing certain speeches—his lines sometimes throbbed awkwardly—and overacting certain scenes—his Grand Manner sometimes burst a seam—Robeson gave a performance that even at its worst was...

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