THEATRE NATION: Bell Shakespeare's "Othello" Does Not Disappoint
We knew Othello was going to be, pardon the cliche, 'a night to remember' long before we entered the theatre but we didn't realise just quite how memorable. I cannot get the images of lights strobing across the stage, and the haunts of Desdemona's song out of my head. On entering the theatre, Desdemona (Elizabeth Nabben), lay on a large rectangular-prismesque box, the metonymic, transforming centre of the play, covered in deep green suede. Despite the amount of focus required for the tableau, this was, I am happy to say, the least skilful part of an incredible performance, not only by her but by all members of the cast.
Surrendering our sense of reality, we were flung into a world of betrayal, love and far too much death; just how Shakespeare likes it. Humbly enacted by a company of only nine actors, they took on the task of a world-renowned tragedy with what looked like great ease, but I wouldn't go so far as to devalue all the hard work and long hours put into this play by the cast and directors, etc. Othello and Iago, played by Ray Chong Yee and Yalin Ozucelik respectively, stole the show with their impressive portrayal of the play's key characters. Othello himself - a character so carefully constructed with equal parts hamartia, loyalty, and blind stupidity - was embodied so seamlessly I half expected to greet him in the hallway (his ghost obviously) looking for the dunny; a living breathing human, a sufferer of the human condition like the rest of us. Yalin also made an impeccably despicable performance, I'm sure all members of the audience would have had to restrain themselves from punching him square in the face had they seen him on the street, his character rightfully deserved it too. The cast's acting ability epitomised in the final moments of play, and not to give anything away, but viewers, remember to breathe, you have been warned.
The highlight of the scenography for me were the helium filled goonbags floating towards the audience after a night of regrettable partying, the deadly drinking - quite literally - leaving Cassio feeling much like we all have after a long hard night: murderous, and in need of a good stabbing.
Bell Shakespeare's Othello This is a play never to be forgotten. I'm sure until the words have been created to describe the experience I will not stop thinking about it, nor will anyone who sat in the audience with me and witnessed this miracle of birth to the brainchild of Shakespeare himself: the love child of Comedy and Tragedy.