There is perhaps no play in Shakespeare’s canon that delves deeper into our modern tensions of racial, ethnic, and even religious identity than Othello. Othello, as everyone knows, is the “Moor of Venice,” but what exactly did Shakespeare mean by those terms? Was he imagining the character as a sub-Saharan African or an Arab from the Moroccan coast? Or was it something vaguer and more general, since the play abounds with references to locations in modern-day Egypt, Syria, Turkey, Cyprus, and the Black Sea? Even more mysterious than his ethnic identity is Othello’s religion. Was he born a Muslim, and has he converted to Christianity? It’s a question that, once posed, becomes increasingly fascinating as one way into this famous text, which is at once so familiar and at the same time such an endless source of discovery.
Without giving anything away, I wanted to share a few thoughts with you on the play, and a few elements unique to this production:
I could not be more proud to share this production with you. We look forward to seeing you in our theatres again soon.
Shakespeare Theatre Company