Thursday, January 24, 2008

Othello at the Donmar

Sitting at my mother's kitchen table on a stormy English night...

I had the privilege of going to two very small theatres in the the last week. First was to see Othello at the Donmar Warehouse - starring Ewan McGregor as Iago and Chiwetel Ejiofor as Othello - and then a few days later to see Honk at the Watermill. Both theatres seat about 200 people and in each case we were seated within 4 feet of the stage. When watching a production in such a small venue you see the inner workings of all aspects of the production.

You are close enough to see every bead of sweat, every small facial expression. Close enough to see the machinery behind the stage changes (even if it is only a character picking up a glove while running off the stage). It is quite unlike the large London or Broadway productions where you are struck by the machinery of the production - where hundreds of people are organizing in the background instead of a few players and musicians plying their craft at arms reach.

Othello was stunningly good. Ewan McGregor was brilliant and chilling as Iago and his evil manipulation would fit in well at the more political large companies. Chiwetel Ejiofor was heartbreaking. It's the first time I've had tears pouring down my face watching the death scene.

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