Friday, December 2, 2016

Maddie's Othello Review

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I watched Othello on the Globe Theater website, and I was not disappointed. It's been years since I read the play, and I've never seen it performed, so I was excited when I saw that it was one of my options. Iago has always been one of my favorite villains from Shakespeare.
One thing I really liked was how they used the stage. They had almost zero scenery, so everything was up to imagination. In the scene where it's supposed to be super dark, all my friends I was watching it with were very confused why everyone was wandering around the stage like that until I explained that it was pitch black in the play. It looked pretty funny when the stage was perfectly well lit, but the actors did a good job. I never felt that the play was lacking because of the plainness of it.
I also really appreciated that the actors used the whole stage. They hardly ever just stood in one spot or one corner - they walked around, danced around each other, hid behind pillars, etc. It made things feel less closed off, I think, and more open. Also, because characters are frequently staging conversations or hiding from one another during the play, it was cool to see how they would shut off certain parts of the stage from each other. For example, when Othello is listening to Iago's staged conversation with Cassio, they stand in the middle of the stage, and Othello is off to the side, clearly seen by the audience but unnoticed by Iago and Cassio.
It was also interesting that because it was filmed, yet on stage, I as the audience had a dual experience of being able to see the audience that was physically present and watch the actual stage instead of a set, but also got to see close-ups of the actors, which wouldn't be possible if I was sitting at the theater. I appreciated being able to see the actors close up because I felt that it helped me have a greater grasp of their reactions and emotions. In the more subtle parts (which are few in Othello - everyone is pretty dramatic the entire time), I liked being able to see their faces as well as hear their voices.
Overall, I thought it was really well done! The actors did a great job (Desdemona's death scene was very disturbing), the props were few but useful when there, and it was funnier than I remember. Roderigo and Iago were hilarious in their scenes, which added some much-needed comic relief from the stress and drama of Othello.

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