February 7, 2015

Theatre program brings fresh take to Shakespeare’s ‘Othello’


The theatre arts department at U of L brought “Othello” to the stage this week in The Playhouse. Its first run premiered Wednesday night, with shows continuing through Sunday.

“Othello,” one of Shakespeare’s famous plays, tells the tragic story of Venetian general Othello, his lover Desdemona and his comrades, both trustworthy and untrustworthy.

U of L’s players took a modern spin on the classic, costuming the characters in business attire, such as pantsuits and cargos, but maintaining the ship setting and the Elizabethan language.

Remember when Leonardo DiCaprio and Clare Danes tried this in the 1996 rendition of “Romeo and Juliet?” It worked about as well for U of L as it did for them. You can make of that what you wish.

Despite the somewhat strange costume choices, U of  L’s theatre arts department impressed me with their talent. The actors were well-spoken, especially Shaleen Cholera, who played Othello. Unfortunately, the lack of set change made the play a bit sleepy, and I found it difficult to hear the characters at times.

I would, however, recommend it to students, faculty and community members who enjoy Shakespeare’s works, because the department did the play justice.

“Othello” will show tonight, as well as tomorrow at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. Tickets are available at the show, at the rate of $12 for students, or $15 for the general public.

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