Tonight I went down to UC Santa Cruz to see Othello with Seanie, Kendrick, and Jeannie. It was my first time seeing the play, although I already knew the story through cultural osmosis. (I'm actually trying to remember if I've read the play or seen a movie of it. I don't think so.) The stage is outdoors, so it was pretty cold, but we came prepared with blankets. (Poor Seanie did not bring a jacket, so he was shivering throughout the entire production.) We arrived an hour early, but Mom had packed us off with a picnic, so we sat at a wooden table and ate cold chicken legs, oranges, and muffins. (It was a random picnic.)
Sometimes it was a little hard to concentrate on the play, because the evening grew progressively chillier as the night wore on, but it was a good show. In this version, Cassio was also of Moorish hue, which made Iago's bitterness a little more barbed. Maybe this Iago thinks that Othello favors those of his own race over other, worthier candidates...even if men like Cassio are younger and inexperienced.
Iago would do great in modern politics, don't you think? He's such a manipulative little bastard, drawing virtually everyone he meets into his schemes. Granted, he's helped along by the fact that Othello is so freakin' oblivious to Iago's wickedness. I mean, in the first hour of the play it seems like the only reason Othello appears is so that he can say "Hi, I'm Othello, I'm going to bed with Desdemona now, kthxbai." He's happy. But as Iago begins to tear apart the romance, Othello never really stops to think "Gee, I'm getting *all* this bad news through Iago. What if he's wrong or misinformed?" What a dummy.
So is Othello a hero? I mean, he murders his wife on suspicion of adultery, so I'm inclined to say no. But his honor made him do it...well, his honor and his temper. There are hints that he may be mentally unstable. He falls into trances and fits throughout the play. I guess he's like Oedipus, doomed to tragedy. Maybe the moral of the story is to never name your son with a name beginning with the letter 'O'.
Like Julius Caesar, the prop 'swords' were actually little daggers. Is there some sort of rule in Santa Cruz that you can't carry full-sized blades?
It was a good show with a strong cast. Too bad it was so freakin' cold, but I guess the theatre company can't be blamed for that.