Imagine, if you will, a city deprived for 20 years of Shakespeare's Othello: The Moor of Venice. Wait, what? No Othello? No Iago? No Desdemona?
According to Alysabeth Clements Mosley, who's directing the Star Bar Players' production, the play hasn't been professionally staged in Colorado Springs in two decades. Time to change that, and let the green-eyed monster roam free.
Mosley has been on Star Bar's board of directors for the past 15 years, and has directed such successful productions as Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Waiting for Godot. But, she says, this is the first time she's tackled Shakespeare.
"This isn't a completely new take on the play," she acknowledges. "But it will be dark and edgy, without the ruffs and tights, and with a more impressionistic set."
Shakespeare was ahead of his time when it came to exploring the human psyche, and in Othello presents characters who display raw, human emotions and motivations — without a lot of metaphor, Mosley says. For instance, Othello himself is essentially just a really jealous guy.
However, Mosley wants to bring out the female characters in her production. Desdemona, Othello's bride and the focal point of the story's drama, can easily be viewed one-dimensionally as a damsel in distress, but Shakespeare's words allow her to be played differently. "It's all in how you chose to interpret it with emphasis," Mosley says.
Mosley credits this idea, and much of her knowledge of Shakespeare, to Murray Ross — who founded TheatreWorks in 1975, and is a longtime fixture of the Colorado Springs theater scene — and Bob Pinney, a well-respected local actor who died in 2009. Ross taught her to hear the music in the text, Mosley says, and Pinney taught her how to play that music.