Shakespeare Demystified: Othello

This is the fourth installment that I’ve seen from those folks who like to simplifying the Bard. They picked the tragedy “Othello” for this year’s production, and how did they do? Keep reading!

The penangpac SD playlist of the last few years looked like this:

  • 2012 Merchant of Venice
  • 2013 Merry Wives of Windsor
  • 2014 Hamlet: A Performance Lecture
  • 2015: Othello

I caught Othello on opening night at penangpac, and like any opening night, there were some jitters and jumbled lines on some of the explanations of Othello given by the actors. But this detracted little from the main course.

Here’s the way SD works: they abridge the Bard’s work down to 100 minutes, which includes the explanations. These pre-scene talks are done by various actors (with cheat-sheet in hand) as they attempt to inform the audience on the scene in which they are about to witness. These informative explanations also delve into the characters to help conjecture about motivation, often citing how scholars have interpreted the work.

What comes next is Shakespeare in his original language performed with a minimalist set.

Does it work? Absolutely!

The Shakespeare Demystified folks continue to show their enviable ability to make the works of William come alive to modern audiences who have become perhaps weary of many of his works.

The explosive ending to Othello was just that: riveting, tragic, and emotional. I even noticed a few tears in the audience.

Shakespeare Demystified’s “Othello” is an excellent, gripping, and entertaining introduction for those who think Shakespeare is hard to understand.

I highly recommend it.

Their short run at penangpac has just finished, but you can catch the SD crew at the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre from April 22-26.

Don’t miss it!

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