April 8 – 12, 1998

Production Language English
Country of Origin England, United Kingdom
Description Othello, a distinguished and brave general, is the most romantic figure among Shakespeare's heroes. However, the play is an often neglected tragedy in contemporary theater.

Director Sam Mendes has changed all that, and with this production has also discovered a new star in David Harewood. The young and upcoming actor, cast in the title role, was given the formidable challenge of playing opposite Simon Russell Beale as his Iago, whom the Daily Telegraph (London) praised as "an actor so brilliant and so hypnotically charismatic that he often makes everyone else on stage look second-rate." However, Mendes has perfectly gauged the contrast and Harewood proves a powerful Moor.

Claire Skinner's delicate Desdemona is touching in her doomed innocence, and Paul Pyant's lighting is Fassbinder-like in creating an unsettling tension. Mendes has set the play in the 1930s and Anthony Ward's design brings the action uncomfortably close to home.
Identifier 1998s.00636