Shakespeare’s Othello was a Moorish man in a white world. The ‘Otelas’ from the acclaimed Lithuanian director Oskaras Korsunovas he turns it into his female montage to update Shakespeare’s famous drama. A cast of very young actors star in a fast-paced montage of almost four hours long which will be performed only this Friday at the Teatre Municipal de Girona, at the Temporada Alta festival.
“Gender equality, racism and the acceptance of the different are the focus of this proposal that also speaks of love, friendship, betrayal and jealousy”, the black actress declared at a press conference Oneida Kunsunga-Vildziüniene who embodies Othello in this modern adaptation of ‘Othello’, which Shakespeare called ‘The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice’.
“Gender equality, racism and the acceptance of the different center this proposal”
Desdemona, daughter of a wealthy Venetian, defied her own by marrying someone else. Korsunovas brings the work closer to our days with ‘Otelas’a feminist montage.
The Lithuanian director, who premiered ‘Oncle Vània’ with Catalan actors last year, confronts today’s audiences with current issues with a different reading of Shakespeare’s drama starring a lesbian marriage.
on the tightrope
Korsunovas shows a society on a tightrope, where the actors “are on the verge of falling from the precipice at every step and not only metaphorically”, highlighted the leading actress. Physical work and balance are key in this assembly.
The actors move and jump in a non-naturalistic scenery created with wooden coils of different sizes. That ‘Othello’ is a woman creates a new dynamic in his relationship with him machiavellian lago, an instigator who sows doubt in Othello regarding Desdemona’s fidelity. “Iago has felt betrayed by Othello, but he loves him too and can’t bear to see him waste his energy on Desdemona,” he says. Saulius Ambrozaitis, who gives life to Iago. And despite the fact that Iago’s love for Othello is already present in the original text, in this new version it acquires a different dimension as Othello is a woman.
“The simple fact that Othello is a woman reveals other realities, other aspects of the work”
However, the actress who represents the seasoned soldier, points out about her character: “We do not emphasize that Othello is a woman, it is something that we neither underline nor hide. But the simple fact that it is reveals other realities, other aspects of the work”. Shakespere set the action in the ancient Republic of Venice where the daughter of a wealthy merchant married a black Moorish general, something unusual. Korsunovas uses this classic text from the beginning of the 17th century to initiate the challenges of the western society of the 21st century. “In today’s Lithuania it is a challenge for Desdemona to join an immigrant woman. The election of Korsunovas sheds a light on other aspects and allows to talk about the problems of the LGTBI community.”
Ambrozaitis added that “at first, Korsunovas thought that Yago could be an ‘influencer’, someone who gets a lot of followers because he knows people’s weaknesses and knows how to manipulate them”. However, when approaching the character, the actor has allowed himself to be carried away above all by “pain, jealousy and the force that pushes him towards evil”.