Director Jonathan Munby on OTHELLO


So I’m thrilled to be coming back to Chicago Shakespeare to do OTHELLO It’s really interesting doing this play in 2016—the quadricentennial of Shakespeare’s death. It’s interesting to kind of view it through the lens of legacy, actually, and see what Shakespeare did to inspire. I think writers, theater and film makers long after him. OTHELLO is a play that I’ve loved for a long time and have been intrigued by. It’s one of the great psychological thrillers that has ever been written. We are blessed that we have James Vincent Meredith playing the role of Othello. An extraordinary, brilliant actor. It was important to me that we didn’t pursue this play unless we had the right actor at the center of it. and James is absolutely that. Yes, it is an iconic role, but James and I are keen to look at it with fresh eyes. I’ve chosen to set this in the present tense. We are going to create a world that looks and feels familiar to an American audience. I wanted this play to feel recognizable. For us not to be able to shrug away from it in any way. That we felt implicated. That the ideas that it explores—the racism at its heart… …this idea privilege and class at its heart. The tensions that are at the center of this play are something that we can’t avoid.

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