Why Othello will be played by a woman at the Liverpool Everyman

From BBC - November 10, 2017

Othello is one of Shakespeare's greatest roles - and next year, there will be a female Othello for the first time in a major modern British theatre.

Golda Rosheuvel will play the jealous Venetian army general at the Liverpool Everyman from April to July.

The production will tackle themes of gender and homophobia - with Othello in a gay relationship with Desdemona - as well as jealousy, race and power.

Director Gemma Bodinetz said that would make it "more alive" for modern crowds.


Othello, who's known as The Moor, secretly marries a senator's daughter and is the victim of a scheming revenge plot by Iago, a white soldier.

"I am trying to get to the root of the electricity that the original audience would have felt about the dare of this play," Bodinetz said.

"It began to feel quite electric for me that this woman was going to be in charge of so many men and so much testosterone."

In her interpretation, Bodinetz said the "stress and strain and neurosis" of being a female general in a male-dominated army would have been playing on Othello for some time.

"The stress of being as good as a man felt very alive at the moment, actually," the director said. "And sometimes I have felt it myself as a woman in a position of some authority.

"Not quite an army. There are always times I want to make sure nobody's ever finding me wanting because of my gender, let alone my race - I do not have to fight that particular battle.

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