Unexpected Essay

697 words - 3 pages

The performance of Shakespeare’s Othello by the Actors From The London Stage was not my first experience with theatre, but it was definitely a new one. The last performance I watched, Twelfth Night, was presented in a recreation of the Blackfriars Theatre by the American Shakespeare Center. This performance featured a more traditional stage experience with costumes, set design, and a multitude of actors. On my way to McCullough Theater, I envisioned Othello sharing many similarities with the production I had seen in Virginia, but was surprised by what I experienced.
Almost immediately, I realized this wasn’t “just another theatre performance,” and I was confused to say the least. The first thing that stood out to me was the fact that all of the actors remained on stage throughout the entire performance. The actors, clad in designer clothes, entered the stage and, in a blur, introduced their respective characters. It was odd seeing a character retire to their seat at the rear of the stage and seem to listen while other characters plotted against them. I often found myself watching Othello’s face for some sign of a reaction to Iago’s scheming, but Jude Akuwudike remained expressionless as he waited to rejoin the action. At the beginning of the performance I found it hard to follow the characters and plot thanks to the lack of defining features and the production’s constant role shifting. Othello was much harder to comprehend in comparison to the ASC performance mainly due to the fact that the actors played three to four roles, and their shifts in character were only signaled with subtle costume change such as the addition of a sword or scarf.
After the initial confusion began to wear off, I found myself able to focus more on the plot and acting. The bare set design and minimal props reminded me of the style featured in Lars von Trier’s Dogville. I forced myself to focus specifically on the acting and dialogue, and soon felt myself becoming more immersed in the experience. After seeing a theatre performance and really analyzing it, I realize that Trier did an...

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