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Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: July ::
Re: Patrick Stewart as Othello
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.0769.  Friday, 18 July 1997.

[1]     From:   G. L. Horton <
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        Date:   Thursday, 17 Jul 1997 09:05:56
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0754  Qs: Stewart as Othello

[2]     From:   David Levine <
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        Date:   Thursday, 17 Jul 1997 23:14:21 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0766 Re: Patrick Stewart as Othello


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           G. L. Horton <
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Date:           Thursday, 17 Jul 1997 09:05:56
Subject: 8.0754  Qs: Stewart as Othello
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0754  Qs: Stewart as Othello

>just a gimmick?
>Is it a victory for non-traditional casting or just a way to give
>Stewart a chance to play a role he wouldn't normally have access to?
>Any and all opinions are welcome.

I would hazard that, given his army of adoring fans, Stewart could
easily "have access" to the role of Othello in other venues.  The
interesting thing about the project is the rest of the cast.  If one is
committed to multi-ethnic casting as a way to break down bigotry and
extend collegial status to groups that have been excluded from the
mainstream performing arts-as the creators of "Star Trek" were, and as
one of Stewart's fans assured me the actor is, both artistically and
morally-then "Othello" becomes a stumbling block, a play that explores
the perceptual boundary in depth but has only one part that a non-white
may perform. If the play works "in reverse", great: a fresh source of
insight and empathy.  If Stewart's celebrity makes the experiment
possible, we owe him our thanks whether or not he proves a brilliant
Othello. His Prospero was type-casting, though the context of the
production certainly fit in with a multi-ethnic commitment.  Othello
will be a bit of a stretch.

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Levine <
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 >
Date:           Thursday, 17 Jul 1997 23:14:21 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 8.0766 Re: Patrick Stewart as Othello
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0766 Re: Patrick Stewart as Othello

As for a critic who covers the question of the May/December aspect of
the marriage between Othello and Desdemona, Tom McFarland has an entire
essay built around the point in his *Tragic Meanings in Shakespeare*,
which came out, I believe, in the late '60's or so.

It's hardly fair to say that Othello is seldom played old. He used to be
considered a middle aged character (remember, Olivier wouldn't touch the
part until he was well into his fifties). I always figured his age to be
around forty-five or so, since he is still an active military leader
(remember, Iago is only twenty eight). I suppose you could make the case
that since he and Brabantio were friends before Desdemona came into the
picture, they are around the same age as Brabantio, but  since Brabantio
behaves as very much the senex of the piece, I don't much see the point
of the casting....
 

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