You may want to brush up on your Othello before watching this performance. The piece is, in essence, a dialogue with Shakespeare’s original play. And, although writerToni Morrison would not call herself a feminist, the result of this dialogue is a womanist revision of the play’s characters and the norms set by the era in which they lived. Morrison’s masterful tracing of sly, systemic modes of enslavement–of women, of Africans, of “others” and “villains”–is carefully brought to the fore through a series of monologues delivered by Desdemona (played by Elizabeth Marvel) in the afterlife.
It is a project worthy of Morrison.
And project is indeed the right word for the production. As Peter Sellars emphasizes in his introduction to the performance (he gives an opening talk each night), the piece is neither strictly theatre nor concert. It is an ongoing project, a dialogue, and an exploration in which the audience are invited to take part.
Desdemona’s dramatic monologues are interspersed with and layered over by Rokia Traore’s haunting and very African music. Rokia Traore, through her music and finally through direct dialogue, plays Desdemona’s childhood nurse, the African Barbary. And while the character is only given brief mention in Shakespeare, relating how she dies of a broken heart singing an epic tale of love and loss, Morrison gives her equal staging–and equal voice–with Desdemona in this project.
- Disturbing! Police Beat, Tase Homeless Man To Death On Video
- Comedian Dave Chappelle Gets Heckled And Bombs On Miami Stage [Video]
- The Top 10 White Terrorists Of All-Time
- Cops need help finding a missing Euclid mother
- Tragedy! Former Kentucky Basketball Player Shot To Death
- A “Dead” Man Wakes Up in the Morgue
- Shocking! Police Strip Man In Snow, Beat And Tase Him On Video
- Michael Jackson’s Brothers Protest Tribute Concert
- Basketball Wives: Jen and Evelyn Makeup, Tami Fights Meeka [FULL EPISODE]
- Racism? Black Student Forced to Share Valedictorian Title