Shakespeare's Othello has been uniquely shaped and adapted into a two-hour presentation for television. Focussing on the characters of Othello, Desdemona, Cassio and the villainous Iago, ...
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Shakespeare's Othello has been uniquely shaped and adapted into a two-hour presentation for television. Focussing on the characters of Othello, Desdemona, Cassio and the villainous Iago, the adaptation presents viewers with a heightened experience of the epic story of love, betrayal, racism and ultimately, revenge. The cast has also recorded a radio drama version of the piece for CBC airwaves. Written by
Lisa Ghione PR
In an attempt to keep the runtime under two hours, the filmmakers understandably had to cut much of the original text. Unfortunately, instead of a snappy and accessible flick, the result was a rushed and underdeveloped story, both for Shakespeare enthusiasts and casual moviegoers alike. I have studied Othello many times and seen various performances, while my father has never read the play. Due to the disjointed feel of the film, he was confused throughout the beginning regarding the motives, while I was feeling cheated as Shaikh chose to omit some of the most celebrated and best speeches and scenes. These cuts also affected how realistic the characters were. I didn't give two beans about Shaikh's Emilia, even though I consider her to be one of the saddest and most unfortunate characters in Shakespeare's play. Graham Abbey as Cassio was quite good, but his appearances were so pruned that it was hard to get a good look at him. Stratford veteran Peter Donaldson was excellent as Brabantio, but most of his scenes were also cut. Matthew Deslippe would no doubt be an effective Iago elsewhere, but in a production where so much has been spared, it is hard to truly collude with the villain-- to get into his head-- to hate and enjoy him; instead, Iago was just sort of another character, one that we couldn't really be bothered to think about very much at all. As Shakespeare's worst villain, it was (to say the least) disappointing. Christine Home played Desdemona, the victim of Othello's naive rage, with a sort of frankness that felt detached from the tragic action. Her plain delivery bordered on the tedious, and I was moved neither to fear nor pity when the Moor finally put out the light. Carlo Rota, however, was exceptional in the titular role of the jealous general. He supported the entire show and managed to preserve what little tragedy was left in Shaikah's otherwise malnourished hodgepodge. Four of my stars go to him; Donaldson and Abbey can share the last one.
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