Thursday, June 6, 2013

Othello and Desdemona Reversed

"I prithee name the time;
But let it not exceed three days."
Could it be done?
Oprah: Having a white Othello and a black Desdemona? Course it can. Anything’s possible.
Desmond: It’s stageable, granted, but wouldn’t Othello’s jealousy be diminshed?
Oprah: How about we rewrite the parts so the black Desdemona is betrayed by Emilia and becomes jealous and kills the white Othello? Double reverse punch.
Desmond: Now you’re viewing Shakespeare through a glass darkly.
Oprah: But it’d be a major rewrite to beef up the servant Emilia into the evil ensign Iago.
Desmond: Just occurred to me. Did the dark lady of the sonnets appear around the time he wrote Othello?
Oprah: Later. Othello 1604, Sonnets 1609.
This has been done before.
“In 1997, the Washington Shakespeare Theatre staged a ‘photonegative’ production of Othello, with an almost black cast. Othello was white, as were all the servants in Brabantio’s house and the prostitute Bianca. What do you think the director was trying to achieve? Note: the majority of the population of Washington is black.” (Barnsley, 2007)

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