Betrayal, revenge, a little more betrayal, a little more revenge, then even more revenge and a white lace handkerchief.
That’s about all you have to know about "My Dear Othello," the Theatre Gigante production opening tonight at the Kenilworth Studio 508 Theater.
The Moor of Venice is one of the greatest tragedies written by Shakespeare, and this reworking by Isabelle Kralj and Mark Anderson is no less a tragic, although the journey to that ending is shorter, simpler and far less complex.
The production combines the passions and emotions of the original play with an almost Kabuki-like style, with all the poses and freezes so common in the Japanese theatrical form. The only thing missing is the pounds of makeup worn by your average Kabuki dancer.
Kralj and Anderson are widely known for their blend of dance and theater, with the former's training as a dancer creating a theatrical experience that is unique in Milwaukee. The company staged a striking production of "Midsummer in Midwinter" last season, their take on another Shakespeare stalwart "A Midsummer Night’s Dream."
I saw the preview performance of "My Dear Othello," and it was striking how strong this story is when it’s stripped down from all the extras, both people and subplots.
This is a story easy to follow. Othello marries Desdemona. His aide Iago, hurt by being passed over for a promotion, engineers a fanciful tale of Desdemona’s infidelity. Iago, the personification of the classic schemer, drafts his wife Emilia, who is also Desdemona’s handmaiden, to help create the tale of cheating.
And it all revolves around that white lace handkerchief. Othello gives it to Desdemona. Iago tells his wife to get it, and she does and gives it to Iago who then plants it in the room of Cassio, knowing that Othello will discover it and be convinced his wife has cheated on him. And, like any great tragedy, it ends with death.
This is not a linear production with a beginning, a middle and an end. Some of the t…Read more...