‘Then must you speak
Of one that loved not wisely, but too well.’
Act V, scene 2
The republic of Venice employs General Othello, a self-made man and a Moor, to defend its overseas territories against the Turks. As the Turkish threat gathers and Venetian forces are despatched to Cyprus, the love Othello holds for his new wife becomes a raging, uncontrollable torrent. Iago, a junior officer secretly enraged by Othello, exploits his General’s ambiguous position and ingenuous nature, driving him into a passionate and overpowering jealousy.
Othello is an all too human story; marked by the domestic intimacy of a chamber piece, it has the feel of a relentless Greek tragedy.
The wasteland of death may be both Iago’s goal and his harvest, but the stage belongs to Othello, a man who loved perhaps unwisely and too well.
André Holland (Othello) is best known for his roles in Academy Award-winning films Moonlight and Selma. The multi-award-winning actor’s other screen credits include 42 and The Knick. Theatre credits include Jitney (Broadway), Blue Door (Playwrights Horizons), Wig Out (Vineyard Theatre), The Brother / Sister Plays (Public Theater) and All’s Well That Ends Well (Shakespeare in the Park).
Mark Rylance (Iago) is currently starring in the Globe’s production of Farinelli and the King on Broadway (originally produced under Dominic Dromgoole’s tenure as Artistic Director). He was the founding Artistic Director of the Globe, acting for ten years between 1996 – 2005, playing a multitude of roles including the Countess Olivia in Twelfth Night and Richard in Richard III (Shakespeare’s Globe, West End, Broadway). Further stage credits include Jerusalem (Royal Court, West End) and Boeing-Boeing (West End, Broadway). His screen credits include Wolf Hall, Dunkirk, The BFG and Bridge of Spies.
Claire van Kampen most recently directed Nice Fish in 2016 (St Ann’s Warehouse, New York & West End), and wrote Farinelli and the King. From 1997, she was the Globe’s founding Director of Theatre Music, creating both period and contemporary music for approximately 50 of the Globe’s productions. She is Creative Associate of The Old Vic and has continued to be the Globe Associate for Early Modern Theatre Music since 2007.
Shakespeare and Venice
‘There was a range of travel narratives and anecdotes about Venice at the time. Shakespeare would have been familiar with Venice’s reputation as a notoriously luxurious city. Many who wrote about Venice commented on its multicultural population, sometimes referring to the abundance of ‘strangers’ in their various habits and native costumes populating St Mark’s Square. There are visual representations in Renaissance art of Moors, Turks, Jews and many other visitors or non-Venetians in and around the city. The exoticisation of the setting might have enabled Shakespeare a platform for a more robust critique of social anxieties in his own country, such as sexual jealousy, xenophobia, racism, and a growing obsession with trade and mercantilism.’
Dr Farah Karim-Cooper, Head of Higher Education & Research, Education department
This summer revel in the extraordinary, magical atmosphere of the Globe at night with our special midnight matinee performances. The Midnight Matinee performance of Othello will take place on Friday 14 September at 11.59pm.
Leading Shakespeare scholars, with the support of Globe actors, offer inspiring introductory talks before the performance.
Nancy Knowles Lecture Theatre
£8 (£6 Members / Students)
Tuesday 7 August, 6.00pm
Dr Gillian Woods (Birkbeck, University of London)
Wednesday 12 September, 6.00pm
Dr Emma Smith (University of Oxford)
Theatre company members share their experiences of this season’s plays and answer your questions in these chaired Q&As 15 minutes after the matinees.
Nancy Knowles Lecture Theatre
£5 (£4 Members / Students)
Wednesday 22 August (Captioned, Speech to Text Relay)
Tuesday 4 September