莎士比亚生活在封建制度开始瓦解，新兴资产阶级开始上升的大转折时期。《【经济学人】纽约剧院 | 2016.12.17 青春豪门校园小说封面| 总第764期》当时中世纪以宗教神学为代表的蒙昧主义思想走向没落，资产阶级以个人主义为中心的世界日益深入人心，人文主义在社会文化思潮中开始占据统治地位。莎士比亚以他的忧伤，大胆地批判了封建制度的残酷黑暗及对人性的禁锢，强烈反映了新兴的资产阶级希望建立新型的社会关系和伦理思想的要求，为人文主义在英国和欧洲的传播起了巨大的推动作用。
New York theatre
The stars align for a memorable production of “Othello”
Dec 17th 2016
IF YOU see only one production of “Othello” in your lifetime, make it the one which is on at the New York Theatre Workshop (NYTW) until January 18th. Tickets sold out ages ago, but a cluster of hopefuls stand shivering outside before shows in case of returns. They are right to try.
From the start, it is clear something is going on. The entire auditorium is plastered in plywood, with stadium seating arranged in the round. The set evokes an army barracks, with mattresses arranged in rows. Two men are already onstage before the play even starts, dressed like soldiers on break (camo shorts, chiselled muscles, shaved heads) and engrossed in the video-game “Guitar Hero”. If most productions of Shakespeare heighten how remote these works can feel by setting the action at a distant time in a distant land (a place where even American actors mysteriously sound English), this one, directed by Sam Gold, capitalises on the ways “Othello” is not just timeless but also timely. A tragedy about love, jealousy, war, ambition, race and rage, it feels startlingly appropriate in the world of today.
This is Mr Gold’s first Shakespeare play. For a director who tends to collaborate with living playwrights on new work, this marks a departure. Mr Gold was eager for the challenge of a more formally rhetorical play, particularly if his experiment could be off-Broadway. “The smaller the audience, the easier it is for me to deliver the kind of performance that interests me,” he explains. Tackling the bard is “scary stuff”, he admits, but he has tried to treat “Othello” as if it were “a new play, without the burden of Shakespeare’s importance and the rules that come along with it”.
The 220-seat theatre’s small size means that too few people will see this production, but it also means the actors can afford to be subtle. Because they know everything they do can be seen and heard, their performances often sound more like talking than orating. Nearly everyone wrings out as much authenticity as possible from their lines. At times the actors are so at ease in their roles that it seems like they are departing from the original . This is an illusion. The play has been trimmedslightly, but the text is unchanged (except that a rousing rendition of “Hotline Bling” replaces the original drinking song). The production runs for more than three hours, but itracesby like a train hurtling towards its inevitable crash.
The ensemble includes a few standouts. In yoga leggings and a cardigan, Rachel Brosnahan is a sweet and perceptive Desdemona; Finn Wittrock is a fine, strong-jawed Cassio; and Matthew Maher nearly steals all of his scenes as the otherwise marginal dupe, Roderigo. But the show of course belongs to the two stars: David Oyelowo as Othello and Daniel Craig as Iago (pictured). It is a marvel to see the raw talent of these masters up close, without the smoke and mirrors of the cinema.
Mr Craig is a magnetic Iago, a thuggish weasel in a T-shirt and shorts who delivers his lines as comfortably as he breathes. Perhaps tosubduethe glimmer of his celebrity (and evade the annoying habit of entrance applause), his first scenes take place in total darkness. This is an intriguing choice, which helps introduce the patter of Shakespeare’s poetry to the ear without the distraction of Mr Craig’s impossibly blue eyes. As for Mr Oyelowo, his transformation from a regal, self-assured soldier into a bloodthirsty creature undone by jealousy must be seen to be believed.
Mr Oyelowo says he had long avoided playing Othello, deeming it a bit “too obvious” a role. But he was won over by Mr Gold’s plans to stage the play “in a world of now”. He adds that after a ten-year hiatus, it also felt like it was time to return to the stage. “Nothing gets you closer to the truth of storytelling than live theatre,” he says. “There’s nowhere to hide. If you’re not telling the audience the truth, you feel it. But when it works, it’s magical.”
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Tackling the bard is “scary stuff”, he admits, but he has tried to treat “Othello” as if it were “a new play, without the burden of Shakespeare’s importance and the rules that come along with it”.
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