Paul Hagerty is lago: Shakespeare's arch villain

Fullerton College Hornet  - David F. Burke - Friday, October 12th, 1990
Iago has convinced Othello that his wife is unfaithful and the that Iago's rival Cassio must be killed.

Many Shakespearean scholars consider Iago to be the Bard's most highly developed villain. In Fullerton College's rendition of the classic tragedy, the part of Othello's protagonist is played by 20· year-old Paul Hagerty, of Anaheim.

Hagerty said that he considers the part of Iago to be one of the most desirable in all of dramatics. ·"This is the role that almost every actor wants," he said.

"Iago is a. very-mello dramatic, out of the ordinary guy," said Hagerty. "He's not very real life. He's very Shakespearean; he's very big. We've got to tone it down . and make him real so that a modem-day audience can accept it as something that's true today.''

Director Tom Blank decided that the most suitable personality type, and one which modem audiences can readily identify and understand, is the sociopath. "We've put (lago) in the mindset of somebody that really thinks he's right," said Hagerty.

'Iago has gone from the bottom to the top of the ladder, all from his own workings," he explained. "His love for Othello is turned around into complete jealousy when he is over looked for a promotion. Then he wants Othello to feel the same jealousy.''

Following his freshman year in high school, Hagerty signed up for Standing Room Only, a Summer program operated by the Fullerton College Theater Arts Department.

Since then, Hagerty starred in various high school productions and has held major roles in FC plays including "Mystery of Edwin Drood," "Death" and "Red Noses." In all, he has worked on about a dozen productions at FC.

Future Plans center-around dramatics. "I want to get as much out of theater in my life as possible," he said. "I would love to be a part of every aspect of theater, whether it would be movies, broadway commercials, or t.v." ,

Blank will be leading a group of students to Cambridge, England in the Spring. Hagerty plans to go along and possibly to remain in Europe after the semester ends. He hopes to become accepted into an acting school in England.

After returning from Europe, Hagerty plans to attend UCLA, where he'll major in Theater Arts Education. He said he will be prepared for a career in teaching if he can't make a living as an actor or director. "I'm not a fool, he said, "I'm not going to leave myself open if things fall through."

Although acting and directing are Hagerty's major career goals, he emphasizes that a balanced life is very important to him. "I'm a very religious person," he said. "If I were to die any time soon, I would like people to know that I cared for God first, and then theater."

Strong religious beliefs may one day come into conflict with dramatic ambition, says Hagerty. "I want to commit my life to theater but I don't want to sacrifice my morals, my commitments and my relationship· with God."

1 "If a movie director comes along and says 'I want you for this role, it will make you big,' but it's something that contradicts every view I have and It gives off a message that I feel is wrong and that God would not want me to be in it; I won't do it," said Hagerty.

"It's a decision that is going to scare me half to death," he admitted. "But in order for me to keep God first, I have to keep that character commitment and that strength of conviction."

Hagerty is already serving as a drama teacher. i:Ie works for the Performing Arts School for Children in Yorba Linda where he has directed a musical, "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown," and is now working on a Christmas show ..

Teaching is rewarding for Hagerty. "The kids are hard to deal with. They're giving· me the patience I know I'll need down the line. Being a teacher now is proving that this is what I want."

Despite his plans for obtaining a teaching certificate from UCLA, Hagerty hasn't ruled out moving to the Big Apple and seeking his fortune. "lf l feel like l'm getting comfortable," he said. "I'm out of here.

"Every once in a while I feel like I'm getting stagnant. If I feel like that's happening to me I'm off to New York, off to L.A., off to the heart of the working professional world of theater. I'm going to try my hand. I'm going to take the big risk because I don't want. to lose my passion," he said.

"If you don't have new experiences to slap you in the face and say, 'What are you doing?', you're not going to learn, you're not going to change and you're. not going · to grow," said Hagerty.

Paul Hagerty believes that landing the role of Iago has been the best thing that has happened in his dramatic career. But he won't rest on his laurels.

When asked if future roles might prove somewhat anti climatic, he said no. Although the part of Iago has been the best yet, he predicted, "from here, I go for more of the best!"