By: Abbey Bonin
On November 5, 2011, Folgers Theater in WashingtonD.C.held one of their performances of the Shakespeare drama, “Othello”. The actors did a fabulous job of capturing the audience into the story. The play was exceptional in recreating a historical stage, using modern technology to emphasize dramatic scenes and adding humor to lighten the mood.
First, Folgers modeled the theater after the original London Shakespeare Theater, the Globe. The venue was small, so every seat was close enough to the stage to see the actors’ facial expressions. This was especially intriguing during a fight scene at the end of the play. The characters of Cassio and Roderigo, clashed with each other right next to my chair as Cassio fought for his life from Roderigo’s attack. The entire theater seemed to hold its breath as they were pulled in by that moment.
The setting and special effects were also a major highlight. They made the set look like a Muslim palace with beautiful, oriental rugs across the stage complemented with technological graphics. The best use of special effects was done during my favorite scene in which Othello faced his worst fear of betrayal. The directors used fog, darkness and loud speakers to recreate Iago’s lies that set up Cassio into confirming an affair with Othello’s wife, Desdemona. It effectively warped the audience into Othello’s vivid nightmare.
There was plenty of drama in the play, so it was smart of the director to add a little comic relief in the middle of the story. The humor was added during a dramatic scene when Emilia, Desdemona’s mistress, cursed the liar who spread the rumors about Desdemona’s infidelity. What Emilia didn’t know, was that the slanderer of her lady was her very own husband. During the scene her husband, Iago, was standing right behind her and his shocked expression of silent guilt caused a wave of snickers throughout the audience.
Overall, “Othello” was a fantastic performance. It was complete with believable actors, preserved architecture and out-of-this-world special effects. In addition, Folgers’ adaptation even kept to the storyline by preserving significant parts of the plot. I recommend this play to anyone who would enjoy a good drama. Good news too! The play has extended its showing through Dec. 4, 2011 for those interested.