Othello - Theatre Review

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Submitted By Abbie97
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Othello, Review
The National Theatre
The Guardian

The infamous ‘green-eyed monster’ is back with a vengeance in Hytner’s portrayal of Shakespeare’s Othello!
In this tragic tale of trust, deceit and a magical handkerchief, the audience is treated to an interesting and excellent portrayal of Shakespeare’s Othello. Directed by Nicholas Hytner, this play takes a modern day approach, differentiating itself from previous re-enactments. In this interpretation, the cast is dressed in normal, everyday clothing in the scenes that Hytner interpreted as being in “London or a modern cosmopolitan centre”. Followed by a change in costume (for most characters) into military attire when the play is shifted to Cyprus.
Hytner’s road to glory was essentially a U-turn from the original text. His focus was to portray the emotions experienced by characters and to downplay the racial differences. Highlighted when Lester emerges, as confidently as President Barak Obama walking into an important conference, wearing a dark/navy blue suit. The integration of Othello into the rest of the community is witnessed on the army base, when Othello is seen wearing attire that is exactly the same as his Caucasian counterparts. Previous versions such as Jonathan Miller’s 1981 film and Oliver Parker’s 1995 film both focus primarily on the racial difference between Othello and the rest of the cast which, reinforced with Othello often wearing light/white coloured, traditional clothing, which was always dissimilar to other cast members’ clothing. Focusing on racial elements, to some degree, removes the status of the all-important ‘green eyed monster’.
Olivia Vinall’s naïve, teenage school girl approach is a major factor in her eventual demise. Believing that she is indestructible, she attempts to repair Cassio’s shattered reputation. Blissfully unaware that Othello’s mind had been…...

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