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Othello’s First Rehearsal Recap

Pictured: Angela Gulner as Desdemona, Wayne T. Carr as Othello, Michael Manuel as Iago, and Tania Verafield as Emilia.

By A Noise Within
January 9, 2019

We loved kicking off the spring with the first rehearsal of Othello! The rehearsal room, quietly dim for several weeks, was soon filled to the brim – actors being measured for costumes, the walls strewn with costume sketches and inspiration photos, and designers adding finishing touches to their presentations. Now, we can give you the behind-the-scenes intel from the designers and our director Jessica Kubzansky, who are ready to split open the heart of one of Shakespeare’s greatest tragedies.

Kubzansky began rehearsal by sharing her personal journey with the play and what she believes is the primary tragedy of Othello: the broken trust and love between Othello and Iago. “Othello is a deeply personal story about two men who have battled together, have had each other’s backs, until now. Othello talks about having loved ‘not wisely but too well,’ and while it may on the surface appear as though he is talking about his wife, Desdemona, he could just as easily be talking about the man he loved and trusted who, in the end, has profoundly betrayed him.”

Kubzansky also explained how, though she hasn’t changed the play’s language or core integrity, she is setting Othello in 2019. Imagine Othello as the play would look today. The city of Venice bears a striking resemblance to Washington D.C., and the island of Cyprus to Afghanistan. Women in positions of power, from senators to dukes to soldiers, and a diverse array of people of color reflect the world as we see it now. There are dress swords, but there are also ping-pong paddles. And let’s not forget the modern military uniforms.

Scenic designer Frederica Nascimento described the different worlds in detail, from the sumptuous marble hall of grandeur to the gritty corrugated metal walls to the bold red flooring, as she laid out her vision of a beautiful, terrifying, and expansive space for the events to play out. Meanwhile, costume designer Angela Balogh Calin showed her comprehensive sketches of military uniforms, which she plans to make as true to real life as possible. Jessica Kubzansky gave a special thanks to Captain Jack LaZebnik, a military consultant who is helping to ensure that everything military-related will receive its proper place and presentation. Captain LaZebnik will soon be teaching a salute session and will see a run through of the play before he is deployed in February.

These are only a few insights to our production, but our adventure with Othello has only just begun. Join us this spring, and plunge deep into the heart and soul of a man who has everything—power, position, and passion—only to find his world decimated in this intense drama about the terrible power of thwarted love. Buy tickets now.

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