By Allie Kantack
Although he lived more than 400 years ago, playwright William Shakespeare continues to inspire and entertain the audiences of today. Even in their classical language, Shakespeare’s plays exhibit thematically timeless portrayals of humanity. Specifically in “Othello,” seven characters confront everything from love and jealousy to sin and repentance. In their hunt for revenge, they discover their true human nature and the agony of guilt.
From Iowa Western Community College, director Shea Saladee adds a unique twist to her version of “Othello.” With an emphasis on movement, she creates lively images that match the intensity of Shakespeare’s heightened language.
“I am teaching the students the power of their body to speak,” says Saladee. “Even when their voice is silent.”
The idea of elevating movement comes from theatre philosopher Tadashi Suzuki, who has written that “movement is a ‘common grammar,’ which transcends and/or incorporates cultural and linguistic differences.”
In order to emphasize movement, Iowa Western’s production presents a simple, yet stunning spectacle of elevated platforms, striking costumes, and a single property. Yet even with a minimalistic design, the actors fill the stage by engaging their bodies for the entire performance. For cast member Jackson Newman, this was a challenge.
“‘Othello’ forced me to work outside my comfort zone and do well what I couldn’t before,” says Newman. “It became a very transformative experience.”
As the stylized movement accompanies the classical language, Iowa Western Community College presents an intensified version of Shakespeare’s “Othello.” Not only will audience members witness a fresh renewal of a classic, but they will also encounter a truly moving experience.
Performances: January 25th at 10am, 1pm, 4pm, and 8pm in the Kum & Go Theater
Director: Shea Saladee
Cast: Qhayisa Mafilika, Jackson Newman, Francisco Franco, Dylan Warrick, Mati Phelps, Kendra Newby, and Jamie Herzberg
Design Team: Alex Throop, Lora Kaup, Shea Saladee, Rick Goble, Brent Froning, and Kendra Newby