Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Sir Patrick Stewart To Play White Othello

How'd I miss this?

Sir Patrick Stewart wants to do Othello again (he's performed the role before, in 1997).  This time, though, he wants to do it white:

‘In the big picture, everyone should be able to play anything and I am against embargoes on actors playing roles that differ from their own ethnicity or gender...I am in favour of as much diversity as possible because it’s art — it’s not politics, it’s not government, it’s creativity.’
What I don't understand, however, is that Stewart played Othello white in 1997 as well, didn't he? I remember that story, because they did a "mirror image" version with a white Othello and, I'm assuming, a black supporting cast.

Then again, I think the article is just weak on this point. I see here where Stewart clearly says, "I want to play a white Othello again."  Note the again.

Maybe this time it won't be a "mirror image" gimmick, and it'll just be ... what's the term for it?  Race blind?  Race agnostic?  I wonder, then, how they'd deal with all of Iago's racist language at the beginning.  Interesting.

1 comment:

Noah said...

Interesting. Would really like to see it. The RSC is currently doing a version with a black Iago. http://www.rsc.org.uk/whats-on/othello/

I want to agree with Stewart's comments, but I think it's very important to be conscious of whitewashing, particularly in Shakespeare where the canon already is very white. If this does happen, I think they need to redo the film negative/mirror concept. I don't think race is an inherent theme in Othello, but the idea of an outsider is. Othello needs to feel like he's in a world he doesn't belong in, for the paranoia to set in.