On Thursday, Nov. 17, the ETSU Department of Communication and Performance opened Shakespeare’s “The Tragedy of Othello, The Moor of Venice.”
The play tells the story of Othello, portrayed by ETSU student Richard Jackson, who is the victim of an evil plot orchestrated by his trusted friend and ensign, the jealous Iago. Iago has convinced Othello that his wife, Desdemona, is unfaithful.
While Shakespeare is often adapted into many different time periods, this particular production is completely traditional — costumes, set and all.
The show, directed by ETSU faculty member Herb Parker, has been rehearsing since Sept. 26, almost two months, for four performances during the weekend of Nov. 17-20.
“It’s a timeless tale of jealousy, love, hate,” Parker said.
Shakespeare works, while popular for community theaters and colleges to perform, are not the easiest shows to produce due to the dated Shakespearean language.
Evin McQuinston, a student and no stranger to the ETSU stage, plays Iago, the antagonist of the show. His part is one of the characters with the most lines, as Iago has many soliloquies he speaks directly to the audience.
One of the main things McQuiston did to memorize his lines was to record them and listen to them over and over again.
“I have a hot ‘Othello’ mixtape,” he told students at a talk-back after their final dress rehearsal on Wednesday.
Despite the language, Jordan Click, a chemistry major, said he enjoyed the show and praised it for the clear presentation.
“The actors definitely understood the show which is hard sometimes, but they were able to kind of break the barrier between audience and show and be able to make it understandable,” Click said.
The ETSU season continues in the spring with two shows, “Five Women Wearing the Same Dress” written by Alan Ball and “Charlotte’s Web” written Joseph Robinette, based on the children’s book by E.B. White.