Cruel Yet Merciful

Othello is a story of jealousy, betrayal, and all around villainy. Othello (Kendale Winbush, CC ‘11) is a rapidly rising Venetian general who is married to his true love, Desdemona (Alice Mottola, BC ‘10). Othello’s jealous lieutenant, Iago (James Underwood, GS’11) uses and betrays all those around him, including his wife, Emilia (Madalena Provo, BC’12) to convince Othello that his wife Desdemona has been unfaithful to him with Cassio (Brian LaPerch, CC’12), even though she has not.

Director Mikhaela Mahony (BC ‘11) plays with themes of unraveling and constriction in this production of the Shakespearian classic. The structured military jackets used for Othello, Iago, and Cassio start primly and properly buttoned. They unbutton and unravel as the story moves forward; as Iago’s villainous plot unravels Othello’s and Cassio’s lives. Light is used to constrict the areas in which the actors have to move around, symbolizing the different worlds of the characters of the show.The characters in Othello are some of Shakespeare’s strongest… and most difficult. Othello, as his jealousy overcomes him, gets stuck deeper and deeper in his own mind. The lighting in the pivotal strangulation scene serves to emphasize this constriction.

This production expertly employs the violence inherent in this play. Sword fights, stabbings, suicides, slaps, and strangulations; Othello has it all. The entire cast has worked hard to make all of these encounters realistic, as well as safe. They have succeeded; the different fighting methods serve to elevate the plot, not to bury it. The scene in which Othello suffocates Desdemona  is striking in this sense. Mahony bravely decided to do away with the customary pillow. Indeed, many of the fights and attacks are choreographed to immerse the audience in the urgent, life-and-death stakes of the play.

Othello is presented by King’s Crown Shakespeare Troupe. Written By William Shakespeare. Directed By Mikhaela Mahony. Produced By Allie Lalonde. December 3-5 at 8pm, plus an additional Saturday matinee at 2pm. Lerner Black Box. Tickets are free, but performances are currently sold out. You can sign up for the waitlist by emailing your name, the performance you wish to attend, and how many tickets you want to Facebook Event. CUarts Tickets.


Alison Goldberg, BC’12
Alison is the Lighting Designer for this production.

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