‘Othello’ by William Shakespeare: Cheek by Jowl
Riverside Studios, November, 2004
‘Even now, now, very now, an old black ram
Is topping your white ewe.’ (1.1.9)
The basic plot of the tragedy of ‘Othello’is well-known: Iago (Jonny Phillips), jealous that he’s been passed over for military promotion in favour of Michael Cassio (Ryan Kiggell), plots revenge against his general, Othello (Nonso Anozie). From beginning to end we have a sense of entrapment.
Declan Donnellan’s modern-dress production, staged with the audience seated on either side of an acting area that runs the whole impressive width of the Riverside auditorium Nick Ormerod’s design is virtually non-existent, consisting of nothing more than five wooden ammunition boxes. The audience is forced into an aural landscape of Shakespeare’s language – the clues to character and situation that any reader or actor needs. The clues are not necessarily in the meanings of the words. We are drawn into the rhythms of the language: the patterns and sounds of the words that contain a great deal of valuable information. Continue reading Othello: Cheek by Jowl