Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Idaho Shakespeare Festival's Othello

Went to see it last night.  Most of the actors were quite good.  The actors playing Iago, Othello, and Cassio were pretty decent, and Bianca managed to exude sexuality and passion without coming across overdone. 

I wasn't so impressed with Rodrigo; he didn't come across as someone passionate about Desdemona--I kept waiting for him to suddenly admit his undying desire for Othello.  Neither Desdemona or Emilia came across so well either; both seemed a bit more overdrawn in their speaking than fit with the other actors.  It reminded me of what happened when stage actors first started making films, and the overly expressive and dramatic style of the stage failed to make the transition well.  On a stage, you have to overdo things a bit to make sure that everyone in the back row sees and understands, but the contrast with the more naturalistic performances shows.

One point my wife made is that, compared to many film versions of Othello, and especially compared to Kenneth Branagh's version, this Iago (who looks a lot like Branagh), while very well acted, is trying too hard to give some comic relief to what is a ferociously dark tragedy.  I think the director was trying to make this play a bit more palatable, but I'm not persuaded that it worked so well.

1 comment:

Bubblehead said...

I saw it during the Preview night; I thought the actor who played Iago did an outstanding job. I thought they overdid the comic aspects of the Rodrigo character a little much, but I have a feeling that was the director's decision, and not the actor's choice. I was a little taken aback when Othello pulled the gun at the end; I knew it was updated, but it still struck me as a little abrupt. Still, I liked it a lot.