June 20 2013 Latest news:
John Hyde, Chief Reporter
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
YOU may remember the set-up of the film Shakespeare in Love where Gwyneth Paltrow dresses as a boy to fulfil her acting dream.
Females on stage were frowned upon in Jacobean theatre, so goodness knows what the codpiece-wearers would make of the latest production of Othello to open in London.
Performing at The Space theatre on the Isle of Dogs, the Painted Stage company has a cast of just three - and they’re all women.
“We wanted to reverse the tradition of women being forbidden from acting and turn it on its head,” said director Stewart Melton.
“Particularly in this play there is a very interesting relationship between men and women and we wanted to explore that in a completely new way.”
Othello is considered one of Shakespeare’s greatest tragedies, combining all the vital ingredients of lust, greed, jealousy and betrayal.
With two empires at war, Othello is the African general and saviour of Venice who marries the fair Desdemona - but their love is torn apart by the devious working of Othello’s envious deputy Iago.
This production places the play’s three women as the centre of the drama - Iago’s wife Emilia, the courtesan Bianca and Desdemona - a character that Stewart wants to re-invent from her usual subservient portrayal.
“There’s a tradition of playing her as someone passive,” he added. “I don’t know where this has come from - there are speeches where she is very forthright for that era and she breaks a taboo by marrying someone considered to be unsuitable.
“In spite of his anger and injustice she chooses love at the expense of life and I think that’s a brave and strong act.”
* Othello runs at The Space until October 16 every night except October 10 and 11. www.space.org.uk.