The Most Difficult Plays – n° 16.
No need to present Othello – Shakespeare – nor to explain why all Shakespeare’s plays are Everest to be staged: very well known – unavoidable – and still as difficult to overcome.
In Shakespeare’s plays, Othello is one of the summits that cannot be ignored.
One wonders why.
It’s not for Desdemona.
Desdemona is ?…. without being of an ignoble feminine bad faith, she is … transparent.
Well – okay. She’s perfect.
She is beautiful.
Not one word higher than the other.
Always so well dressed and styled.
She is candid – sweet – in love – loving : a wonder.
– The day I figure out how the other girls manage to accomplish this, I’ll be 250,000 years dead. Well… okay – okay, I’m out of topic, sorry –
But then still – without wanting to say this or that – she is above all a pretext in this story.
She is the bone of contention of the 3 goddesses –
The hen that will panic our two roosters who lived in peace before her and will tear after her –
In short, she will be the object of all lust, all plots, all slander – all madness.
And what do you want her to do, lost in so many horrors, crimes, lies? Of course she dies.
I’m summarizing a bit quickly – I’ll grant you that.
Without Desdemona, no story.
But it will take an actress with a hell of a temperament to give flesh, heart and soul to the pretty animated – then inanimate – perfection that we will see on the stage.
This time, it’s not a woman who carries the play – it’s men – the roosters that fight.
Finally, as often in Shakespeare’s plays, it is the secondary character who will be the heart of the plot: Iago –
Iago devoured by envy and hatred. Devoured by jealousy –
Where he is surprising, is that he is not monstrous.
He is not inhuman at all – on the contrary.
He is intelligent – so smart – cold – calculating.
The others have weaknesses? He will take advantage of these weaknesses.
Othello is the very figure of the good big brave warlord, a little brutal? He is the designated victim.
It is so easy to insert doubt in a simple soul – in an upright mind – in a candid heart.
And once the doubt has been laid down as the most devious poison, it will suffice to help it progress into the contaminated organism.
Othello doesn’t defend himself – he stalks like a wounded boar, like an idiot terrorized by the fear of being deceived, of being ridiculed, of being humiliated.
He becomes ridiculous – deceived and humiliated – his end is only justice and who cries for Othello?
Watching Othello is like watching an “open soul” operation: we see, horrified, how easy it is to bring violence, stupidity and hatred into the souls of others. In ours, surely, too.
What use are regrets when it is too late?
What is the use of justice, when bodies are stiff and cold as ice?
This is exactly the point of absolute modernity that makes Othello a must on stage.
In the 16th or 21st century, we are still as fragile as ever in the face of perfidy. How quickly we believe in lies.
How we cherish them.
How happy we are to have been so unhappy – how terrible our anger is –
… and how unjust we have been. How we have lacked faith. How we have broken the only valid bond in love: trust.
We did not know how to defend ourselves from perfidy and slander in the 16th century.
I have the impression that the subject is totally topical in the 21st century.
Desdemona, all right, she annoys me – yes, but hey, I’m a girl, I’m crushed by a Desdemona, how does she manage to be so perfect this one? – but in all honesty, what could she do? Her word was disqualified.
Apart from taking a shovel and smashing it on the head of the creep who preferred to listen to lies rather than her – his so-called beloved wife – I don’t see what she could do. And since she was sweet, she left the shovel – and died.
It is for these lessons, so modern in our world so fragile to slander – especially private slander – so hung up on love that it spends its time destroying the very idea of love, that I would find it very important, very useful, very human to present this Catharsis, once again, always, on the stage. No ?
I really like what I’ve seen of this production – frankly – by Royal Shakespeare Company
Are you in love? oh yes ? are you sure? do you know that…. / 😀 that’s okay, I’m sorry. 😀 Yes I am. ❤