Tragedy of betrayal

2009-02-12 00:00

ONE of Shakespeare’s greatest tragic plays, Othello, will be staged at the Playhouse Drama Theatre in Durban from February 16 to March 24, before heading to the Hilton College Theatre for a week-long run next month.

The play, which is being presented by Think Theatre in association with The Playhouse Company, is directed by multi-award-winning actress Clare Mortimer, and features gifted young actor Ferai Gwaze in the title role.

Performing opposite him are Josette Eales as Desdemona; Iain Ewok Robinson as Iago, the villain of the piece; and Mortimer as his wife, Emilia. Also in the cast are Michael Gritten, Darren King, Marc Kaye, Sean de Klerk, Loisa MacDonald, Karen Logan, Clinton Small, Adam Doré and Rowan Bartlett.

With its varied themes of racism, love, jealousy and betrayal, Othello remains relevant to current audiences. It is often performed in professional and community theatres alike and has been the basis for operatic, ballet, film and literary adaptations.

The play is believed to have been written in around 1603, and is based on the Italian short story A Moorish Captain by Cinthio. It tells the story of Othello, a Moorish general in the Venetian army, whose love for his wife, Desdemona, is twisted by the rumours of infidelity whispered in his ear by his trusted ensign, Iago.

The latter is considered one of the greatest villains in literary history and has been played by, among others, Christopher Plummer, in the 1982 Broadway production opposite James Earl Jones’s Othello, and Ewan McGregor in the 2007 Donmar Warehouse production in London opposite Chiwetel Ejiofor’s Othello.

Plummer is the only actor to receive a Tony Award nomination for performing in the Shakespeare play.

This latest production is geared towards secondary school pupils studying Shakespeare’s stage tragedy as a set work.

Othello can be seen in the Playhouse Drama Theatre at 9 am and noon, Monday to Friday. There will also be two public performances at 7 pm on February 26 and March 13. The play then transfers to the Hilton College Theatre for a week, from March 24 to March 31.

Tickets for the Playhouse shows cost R35 for pupils, students and pensioners, and R50 for adults attending the public performances. School bookings are through Margie Coppen at 083 251 9412. Public bookings at the Playhouse are at Computicket 083 915 8000 or the Playhouse box office at 031 369 9540 or 031 369 9596.

For details of the production’s provincial tour, phone producer Margie Coppen at 083 251 9412.

— Arts Editor.

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