AP Literature students experience Othello

AP Literature students experience Othello

After studying Othello in their AP Literature class, RB students had the opportunity to see the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company’s production of the play. Seeing the play brought to life highlighted the intensity, intimacy, and deception in Shakespeare’s play. Emily Andersen noticed, “The contrast of the white and black clothes they were wearing shows the change of character's roles in the story. . . It was very intimate, especially because of how compact the theatre was and how they moved through the aisles.” Logan Wolf observed, “the way that the set is planned, and the dimly lit room, [shows] that Iago uses the darkness of the night to initially get away with his crimes.” Though written almost 400 years ago, the play still resonates with modern viewers, in part because of its exploration of issues like deception, gender, and race. John Gruter found that the stage production, “helped show me that Iago has very good people skills and is genuinely liked by everyone even though they are being deceived.” Daniel Michaels saw Iago as “absolutely sociopathic.” Grace Nonnamaker was struck by a scene between the two lead women characters that, “truly highlights that females are more than just wives- they can be strong willed and smart.” Kiera Williams reflected that “Being biracial I always seemed to find myself peering at scenes in Othello through a racial lens, because I also grew up not knowing where exactly I belonged, and felt much like an outsider, or ‘the other,’ like Othello. So at the end, after seeing a black man shot on the spot after committing a crime, especially considering the society we are in now, I was emotionally moved. I think the alternative ending of the play definitely highlighted the racial lens of the play.” Students were divided on whether or not they liked the modern dress and staging of the play, bringing in big screen TVs, cell phones, and Taylor Swift. However, all agreed that experiencing Shakespeare’s work as an audience member helped them understand and relate to the play.