Saturday, February 20, 2010

Woo Me with Words

Tragedy is the stuff Saturday nights are made of.

In this particular case, I'd been given two free tickets by a friend for tonight's performance of Othello at Center Stage and couldn't find anyone who could or would go with me.

While not a tragedy, it was certainly a shame, not that it stopped me from going to take in a play that begins as a great love story but really centers on bigotry, obsession and revenge.

It was my first time in the Gottwald Playhouse of Center Stage, although far from my first time seeing Richmond Shakespeare perform.

I'd been one of those in attendance at their Linden Row performance of Much Ado About Nothing back in the '90s. I have long been a regular at their shows.

Tonight I was lucky enough to have been given second row center seats, so I was close enough to see the actors spit, which I find satisfying for some reason.

I also knew two of the actors in the play which always adds to my enjoyment.

And despite having seen many of Shakespeare's plays done repeatedly, I'd never seen Othello preformed live before.

This production is a collaboration of Richmond Shakespeare and the African American Repertory Theater and is part of the Acts of Faith Festival RVA does every year.

Early on, Othello is accused of having used tricks or witchcraft to win the love of Desdemona and marry her.

He's forced to defend himself and explain how his wooing won her over on its own merits.

He had me completely convinced with one simple line of his self-defense, "She'd come again and with a greedy ear devour up my discourse."

That's absolutely true. When we keep coming back to hear more of what you have to say, we're definitely interested, no coercion necessary.

But as we all know, Othello is a great tragedy, so there was much sinister plotting and revenge schemes and far too many people ended up dead or maimed by the play's end.

The beauty of theater over film or television is that I don't have to see the blood and squeamish types like me appreciate that.

The crowd was diverse and included several of the former students who participated in the '60s sit-in at the Thalhimer's lunch counter and they were given a round of sincere applause.

Much to my surprise, there were some Shakespeare virgins sitting right in front of me.

I know because the man boasted to his date that he was going to go right home and update his profile so everybody would know he'd been to see a Shakespeare play.

I'm just making a wild guess here, but I'm thinking he's probably not the type who has female greedy ears coming back to devour his discourse.

No comments:

Post a Comment