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Sunday, 8 August 2010

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Oh Othello!

It was definitely a right royal production when ‘Othello, the Moor of Venice’ drama production was staged for all theatregoers. One certainly had to pre-book or buy the tickets early for if not, you were turned out because of the ‘House Full’ sign prominently displayed at the Lionel Wendt. The production itself churned an interesting medley of tragic magic with soulful Moorish music resonating and the colourful Victorian fashion in true Shakespearean style. In celebration of their 175th anniversary, special credit go to the all-Royalists’ cast, save for the three female non-Royalist performers.

Directed by Thushara Hettihamu, great performances were seen by many not just popular but new faces and talented dancers in their Goth and noir nuances.

Othello, played by Arjuna Wignaraja was fitting as his voice and charisma had been but it wasn’t all that powerful to hear him in his low tone way up at the balcony.

We hope that Arjuna would try to make his voice more powerful with hopefully even the inclusion of a tiny microphone tucked in his bell-sleeved Arab jacket. Though, he easily passed off as a complexion ‘more lighter than a Moor’ which did absolute justice to his role.

Thanuja Jayawardena as the delightful Desdemona was perfectly cast for her eloquence and sheer brilliance of her role. In her tragic exodus being smothered by a pillow manhandled by her husband suspecting her unfaithfulness, she proved that even in pain and demise, one can still look beautiful in tragedy.

While we were all texting furiously that Mohamed Adamaly was the best performer of the play and some might have not agreed with me, he carried the role of Iago with great shouldering responsibility.

Being not only the main villain (in the end) but a loyal ensign, friend and listening shoulder, Iago was as cool as a cucumber when it came to a role so magnificent it had to bleed a bit. Shannon Miss as Desdemona’s lady-in-waiting Emilia, Sajith Amendra as Desdemona’s supposed lover Cassio and the uncultured Bianca gave fitting performances that made the play more playable backwards and forwards in ideals of Shakespearean fashion. On the other hand, the acting by Brabantio and Roderigo weaved in with the script decently.

There were people whom we never knew would actually act in the production such as Adnaan Sabireen who we thought was a so-called advertising professional and not a stage performer! The things we don’t know! Even though we can’t mention and honestly don’t know who really were the silly drinking men in the play when Iago was trying to duel Othello and Cassio, we do know that it was a cast like no other with chemistry that intertwined in soul and spirit.

Even when we thought Othello really meant it when he bade Desdemona goodbye. So in Othello, we found tragedy of misunderstanding and the onset of madness; we found racial prejudice that was a formula for destruction, jealousy at the epicentre of human tangling and the ultimate sacrifice in betrayal.

And all of which that we can see even in modern times for wars wouldn’t be fought and lives wasted in the mere misunderstandings that we as humans still fail to see. Are we not like Othello ourselves?

(ND)

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