Othello

Date: 2007
Posted by: hdflopeck
Cast: James Huessy (Iago), Samantha Dickey (Desdemona), Claudia Tellez (Emilia), Nathan Hutchins (Cassio), Mike Thomas (Othello)
Credits: There You Have It Productions presents. Shot and chopped by James Huessy
Duration: 9.37

How do you take a tale of jealousy, power and racial prejudice in 16th century Venice and reposition it in a 21st century high school in Vermont? The feature film O demonstrated very ably how it is possible to translate Othello‘s particular passions to a modern-day American setting, but such a bold stroke of the imagination requires technical skill beyond the imagination and budget of the average high school English project. But that’s no reason not to try, and this is a lively and intriguing failure. The style adopted is to intercut often overlapping dialogue between the performers (the opening titles claim that the video was unscripted) with pieces to camera from the leading players, as they explain their actions – with the peculiar exception of Othello himself. The tone wavers uncertainly from seriousness to mocking, so that we get a vigorously conducted strangulation scene but then a silly suicide from Othello. Perhaps what’s most interesting is that Iago is the director, editor and lead performer, while Othello seems unclear what he is supposed to be doing (he questions how to pronounce Iago in the end credit ‘outtake’ sequences), redued to a mere cipher (his name is bottom of the acting credits). Iago the engineer of his own downfall, Othello the minor dupe – with a little more seriousness this could have been a quite interesting attempt at portraying the tragedy of Iago.

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