27 November 2018
Our Year 13 English Literature group recently attended a performance of Othello at Warwick Arts Centre. Here is an excellent review written by Phedra:
It was astounding to see what a creative mind can do to modernise such an authentic play as Othello into the somewhat satirical comedy we watched at Warwick Arts Centre. The artistic licence utilised in this version was what made it so enjoyable. This included: the laddish behaviour in the ‘stag do’ scene when sporting pig masks and chugging beers; the dangling microphone the Duke used, as if he was a referee at a boxing match, and Desdemona sat in her Adidas trainers, using an iPhone and meditation to drown out Othello’s murderous plans for her.
The controversial themes already in the original script were amplified for a new generation in this unique production that the director, Richard Twyman, consciously crafted. This modern take on the story focused on the topical issues of: immigration, racism, xenophobia, toxic masculinity and islamophobia. In ‘A Moor For Our Time’ by journalist Abdul-Rehman Malik, Malik states that ‘Othello confronts all… whilst laying bare how these political and social arguments impact on our humanity’ which couldn’t be more true. The production may have kept the intricate plot and the Early Modern dialogue, but aside from that, the time period of the play almost seemed to dissipate from my mind.
The visceral performances of quite a young cast of actors stayed with me long after the curtains closed. The characters were presented by some of the most potent and eloquent actors I have ever seen. The fact that it was Victor Oshin’s (Othello) first professional stage debut and only Kitty Archer’s (Desdemonda) second show is almost beyond belief. The genuine connection the characters shared, with attention to small details such as tender touching and adoring looks, was so wholesome and real that the tragic and tense ending was heightened to new levels.
In my opinion, the Richard Twyman adaptation incorporates everything a successful Shakespeare play should have: intense moments of pain, love, loss, controversy and humour. From the pure emotions pouring from the actors, the heart-wrenching plotline and, not to forget, the powerful, flickering halo of lights, our attention was truly encapsulated by the stage and remained there throughout.