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Othello-Oral Dramatic Arts

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    Good Morning Fellow Artists for the Dramatic Arts! We all know the reason for which we have gathered here today and thank you for your enthusiasm in wishing to audition for William Shakespeare’s Othello! Now, to be able to convey a character perfectly, one must know the culture, society, personality, relationships and various other components to portray the character as realistic as possible. This, you should know, in the dramatic world, is called realism. Now, you’ve all obviously been inspired by the character of Othello and let me tell you, that if you think it’s a piece of easy work and simply reciting lines; you are completely wrong.

    As director of this new production, my board and I have decided to take the approach and shape the production particularly in a post-colonial reading. This means, the role of Othello casts a particularly important and influential figure over the performance. The post-colonial reading has particularly shaped my view of Othello, in the sense that, culture and power was distinctly shown through this powerful playscript. The cultural background of this Elizabethan society clearly shows that one race and culture was more preferential than those of diverse cultures.

    In the military circle, Othello is a well-respected, chosen leader, which must be displayed with clarity, however, socially, his vulnerability and awareness displays that he is less than accepted, ridiculed and definitely not considered as one of the dominant culture. Throughout Act 1, there are many opinions stated that portray Othello as different, exotic and ‘the other. ’ One distinct, short monologue of Iago’s distinctly shows contrast between cultures. “Zounds, sir, you’re robbed; for shame, put on your gown; Your heart is burst, you have lost half your soul. Even now, now, very now, an old black ram

    Is tupping your white ewe. Arise, arise, Awake the snorting citizens with the bell, Or else the devil will make a grandsire of you. Arise, I say! ” (1:1:87-94) In this short dialogue, dehumanising and animalistic imagery is used, as well as the use of binary opposition of black and white, which can, in this text, be translated to good and evil. Iago states, “An old black ram is tupping your white ewe. ” This reinforces Othello’s unaccepted cultural background to Desdemona’s fair and pure beauty. Iago also links Othello with the devil and suggests that you, as Othello, will make Brabantio the grandfather of the devil.

    Another notable dialogue is that of Brabantio and the Duke, especially Brabantio’s short monologue in which he says; “Ay, to me. She is abused, stolen from me, and corrupted By spells and medicines bought of mountebanks; For nature so preposterously to err, Being not deficient, blind, or lame of sense, Sans witchcraft could not. ” This speech reinforces the post-colonial reading in which, Brabantio has the strict understanding that not under any circumstance, other than witchcraft, would his perfect, innocent and pure daughter fall for someone with Othello’s background.

    These small speeches help to reinforce the cultural background, and interpretations of the character that you all want to play! They create the portrayal of difference in culture, eloquence, positions and status and clearly show the opinions of the community in which he lives. Imagine if you lived in a society where you weren’t accepted, where your every move was watched and criticised, where you were looked down upon because of a… ‘flaw. ’ What would YOU do if you were the outsider? What would YOU do if you were Othello?!

    These are just some of the things that you must consider when auditioning. I want someone with clarity, confidence and who can interpret the role individually and originally. I want you to be the character, not simply just acting and reciting lines, anyone can do that! I want an element of truth in it, realism. Now, most recently, I saw a very interesting program called “Othello: New Perspectives. ” It was so captivating and motivating in so many ways! Their perspectives and thoughts brought up many ideas and issues concerning topics in Othello.

    The program definitely reinforced my interpretation of Othello. Clearly, in whatever way you choose to look at it, Othello is still depicted as the outsider, is he not? It is stated, that militarily, they need him, but socially, he is an outsider. Therefore, his vulnerability, gullibility and naivety is shown outside of the military circle, and gradually escalates throughout the play. They speak about Othello’s obsession on how he views himself and how others perceive him and this leads to his awareness that he doesn’t have the eloquence and class as those from the dominant culture.

    As for your costuming element, it will be displayed that your are not poor, however, your garments will be simple, not elaborate, however, starting with light colours at the beginning to show contrast, and then, getting darker to foreshadow what’s to come. It will also show quite a bit of contrast to Desdemona and her fair, light colours to reinforce the post-colonial reading and his difference to society. Lighting can work hand in hand with costuming at times, so it is important that all lighting is perfect and casts the mood over the play for the audience.

    This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly. Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

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