The only times I’ve seen Shakespeare’s Othello have been at the movies. Sadly I missed a staged version of it in Dunedin last year, which, from the reviews sounded well worth seeing. Only in one case in the movie versions has Othello been played by a black actor. Years ago I saw the Laurence Olivier version of it, where his makeup was sweating off his face, and there was also an Anthony Hopkins edition, if I remember rightly. But the film in which a black actor actually played the black character of Othello was Kenneth Branagh’s film, where Laurence Fishburne got the title role. That would have been fine, as Fishburne is an excellent actor, but the film should perhaps have been called, Iago. Iago was played by Branagh, and he dominated the movie, shouldering Othello out of the way most of the time.
While the play is about jealousy, and what it can do to people, the interracial aspect is also a vital element, and as potent as when the play was written. I was reminded of this by a relationship sites (dating sites, if you want to call them something more crass) I came across. This one advertises itself as being for interracial singles though when you look at some of the people I’m not sure that they’d endear themselves to black or white partners.
One bloke who seek good sex and passionate love making says he’s over sex [I think he means over-sexed], sadonistic, [?] selfish, selfcenter, and greedy. Occassionally, I can be a nice guy, he adds.
I think even Iago would have problems with him!