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Moravian College will be host to The National Shakespeare Company for a performance of Othello on Wednesday, April 21, 1999. In Othello's own words, the play examines the downfall "of one that loved not wisely, but too well". Seeing Shakespeare performed live on stage, as it was originally intended to be experienced, is nothing like reading it on the page and this production is sure to leave you with a lasting impression.
At its heart, Othello is a tragedy that turns on simple, ordinary acts: a handkerchief that can't be found, a husband's wild imagination. Shakespeare's artistry is fully evident in how he uses the all too human emotions of love and jealousy to present us with a cautionary tale exposing society's prejudices towards minorities, as well as the importance of trust and communication in relationships.
According to director Blake Robison, "Othello is Shakespeare's most intimate tragedy. With its emphasis on jealousy and infidelity, it hits a contemporary audience on a very personal level. We can easily draw parallels to our time and experience". Robison is also concerned with the character relationships in Othello. "In many productions, Iago takes over the play and the audience has a difficult time accepting Othello as a hero. Yet it is Othello's tragedy. The audience should sympathize with Othello, but hold an enthusiastic fascination for Iago at the same time".
Exactly why Iago is determined to bring down Othello has provoked discussion for centuries. Deciding how to depict Iago was one of the many challenges for Robison as director. The explanations range from prejudice — Iago despises Othello, a Moor of African descent, for having married a white, European woman — to Iago seeking revenge for his wife having been unfaithful with Othello, to simple innate evil. "The more complex and true-to-life Iago appears, the harder it is to dismiss him as a stock villain. I see him as a man unable to accept his limitations in life. He will never be a great leader and turns his anger towards Othello, who is successful, respected and accomplished in battle".
Based in New York City, The National Shakespeare tours the country each year, delighting audiences from the college towns of Massachusetts to the heart of Texas. The cast is composed of eight actors; carefully chosen following a demanding audition process. Whether you have seen Shakespeare performed before or not, the company places a special emphasis on making sure the story and language are crystal clear. Othello is definitely not to be missed!
Othello will be held at Moravian College on Wednesday, April 21, 7:30 p.m. in Foy Concert Hall, Main & Church streets, Bethlehem. General admission is $10. Senior citizens and LVAIC students pay $5. For more information, call 610-861-1650.