WRITTEN BY WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE
DIRECTED BY STEPHEN LEE
James Davies, and
Othello toured Perth and the Southwest (June 6 to July 13 2007)
Almost uniquely among Shakespeare’s mature tragedies, “Othello” does not deal with Court matters, or the lives of Kings and Prince’s. It deals on a very human and intimate level with the emotions of love, jealousy, envy and prejudice. A soldier, Iago, passed over for promotion and seething with resentment, attempts to bring down Cassio, the man who got the job he wanted. In so doing he poisons the love between his commanding officer Othello and his new wife, by making it seem that Cassio is having an affair with the lady, Desdemona. In the end Othello, goaded to a jealous rage, murders Desdemona in her bed. A major theme of the play is that Othello, a black man in a white society, has little in common, both in culture and experience, with his new bride, and is easy prey to Iago’s whisperings.
The play has often been called “Shakespeare’s only kitchen sink drama”, and speaks to us on a very powerful and understandable level. Like “Romeo and Juliet”, it deals with themes and emotions we have all felt and lived through: maybe very few of us have ever been told by our father’s ghost to seek revenge; or been warned by witches that we are destined for the crown; but who has not felt the doubts and insecurities of a new love and the anger and jealousy of betrayal. Sadly too, the dangers of prejudice, and the anger and hatred it breeds, need little explaining in today’s world where Christian and Muslim, Arab and Jew face each other menacingly.
Because of the subtle and intimate nature of the play, the production will make no attempt to be an epic costume piece. We will use a small group of actors and a simple timeless setting, allowing us to focus strongly on the true heart of the play, the characters, and their interactions and conflicts. “Othello” is a dark, brooding, powerful piece of drama, though as is customary with Shakespeare, shot through with a vein of humour, and tells a story as meaningful and pertinent to today as when it was written four centuries ago.
What schools said about Class Act Theatre’s production of Othello at the Subiaco Theatre Centre
“Othello was outstanding. The production brought to life the domestic aspects of the play very well. Watching Iago and Emilia was a treat. The direction was outstanding.”
“An interesting and absorbing production carefully directed with some very strong performances from the leading roles. A very capable cast supporting the leads!”
“We thoroughly enjoyed the production. We really engaged with the experience – it had just the right touch.”
“An excellent production! You captivated the audience and really brought the play to life, making it accessible to our students!”
“We found the performance accessible and useful in galvanizing our reading of the text.”
“The caliber of actors was excellent!”