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Othello (Shakespeare's Globe Theatre Production)


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Product Details

  • Actors: Tim McInnerny, Zoe Tapper, Eamonn Walker
  • Directors: Wilson Milam
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: KULTUR VIDEO
  • DVD Release Date: March 25, 2008
  • Run Time: 195 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0012EM5CE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #47,442 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Performed for the first time at Shakespeare s Globe Theatre, with its racing concentrated plot and intense dramatic detail, Othello is one of Shakespeare's most exciting, atmospheric and heartbreaking plays. This is a tale of uncontrollable jealousy, deception and murder driven by one of theatre's greatest villains.

"Full of pace and energy... Eamonn Walker brings to Othello dignity, grace and a fine sense of the contradiction that leads Othello to lament the pity of it even as he prepares to murder Desdemona" THE GUARDIAN

"Walker cuts a charismatic and brooding figure. He charts the hero's descent into murderous jealousy with a vivid physicality... Zoë Tapper (Desdemona) is enchanting". THE INDEPENDENT

The seriously disturbed side of Tim McInnerny's lago is riveting, with his pushiness morphing, in soliloquies, into a manic fury." THE INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY

"The play suits the Globe better than any I've seen." TIME OUT

"Desdemona is perfection, the best I have ever seen. Tim McInnerny has been brilliantly cast as lago." OBSERVER

CAST
Bianca: Zawe Ashton
Cassio: Nick Barber
Aemelia: Lorraine Burroughs
Rodorgio: Sam Crane
Montano: Nigel Hastings
Clown: Paul Lloyd
Lago: Tim McInnerny
Duke of Venice: Jonathan Newth
Gratiano: Michael Taibi
Desdemona: Zoë Tapper
Lodovico: Dickon Tyrell
Senator / Soldier: Che Walker
Othello: Eamonn Walker
Director: Wilson Milam
Designer: Dick Bird
Composer: Stephen Warbeck

This production of OTHELLO was first performed at Shakespeare"s Globe Theatre, London on 4th May 2007. Recorded live.

Review

This DVD from Kultur captures a production at the historic Globe Theatre where all of Shakespeare's plays originated. Othello is presented in this version on simplistic terms without a set but with plenty of traditional period costuming. The Globe is an outdoor venue, and there is little lighting design required or able to be used. This is as primitive and elemental as you can get, without any of the flashy technical arts of the theatre to fall back on. The production hinges on the performances to keep an audience glued for over three hours.

Luckily, the cast is up to the challenge of performing this well-known known tragedy, and that is the most compelling reason to sit down with Kultur's DVD edition, which presents a previously televised presentation. Eamonn Walker (Duma) has played the role of Othello a number of times, and his performance is fiery and competent. The actor brings dignity, grace, and the perfect energy to make you believe in the Moor's dilemma, which forces him into a murderous, jealous rage. Character actor Tim McInnerny (The Black Adder) makes Iago appropriately evil and maniacal. Zoe Tapper (The Last Van Helsing) is visually stunning as well as earnest as the doomed Desdemona. The actors make the verses move quickly, and they all have a nice intense energy that suits this staging.

It's nice to see Othello performed without any gimmicks or stunt casting. Theatre fans and Shakespeare aficionados will be satisfied and pleased with this primal staging at a historic location. Anyone hoping for spectacle or reinvention won't find any of that in director Wilson Milam's traditional interpretation. You can see the audience reacting to the production thanks to the three-quarter thrust nature of the Globe's stage, and you feel as if you are in Stratford right along with the ticket buyers. Othello contains a strong cast performing a classic tragedy, and for those reasons, it's a fine DVD to connect with the Bard's work --DVD Verdict, Judge Brett Cullum

Kultur is dedicated to bringing great performances of international opera, ballet, and theater to DVD and only a churl would ask them to ever cease doing just that. I will always remember with great affection the countless hours of pleasure they have given not only me, but so many of my friends and acquaintances as well. Anyone seeking a bit of culture in their living room as a relief from nothing but movies embraces Kultur's passion. If one doesn't hold a special place in his or her heart for this vast display of artistic achievement, then one should. --Harvey Perr, Stage and Cinema

Recorded for television on 4 May 2007 at the live production from The Globe, this particular production of Othello translates well to its DVD format with crisp, warm color and camera angles that capture stage action and reaction along with appropriately timed close-ups.


While Eamonn Walker's portrayal of Othello is mesmerizing, Tim McInnerny's Iago is the maliciously merry ringleader of the production's antics. Innerny s Iago impresses the point that the villain of the piece is as equally important to the play as its title character, a sharp contrast to Walker's Othello. Both actors take command of the stage when they re on it, complimenting one another's characterization greatly.



Innerny (best known for his role in television s Black Adder) seems to relish Iago's interaction with the audience, casting sneering glances and smirking at those in attendance as he lets them in on his dastardly plots and schemes. He makes Shakespeare's soulless opportunist loathsomely likeable, particularly in his scenes manipulating the foolish Roderigo (Sam Crane, who plays the role with a foppish flair). When Iago tells Roderigo to 'put money in thy purse', his speech manages to combine comedy with a malicious underlying intent. Similarly, he's a hoot when mocking Cassio (Nick Barber)'s vaguely narcissistic mannerisms. Innerny's Iago revels in his remorselessness, making it clear to the audience that he sees nothing wrong with affecting the lives of others to twist the situation to his advantage.



On the flipside, Eamonn Walker delivers no less of an outstanding performance as Othello. The Globe Theatre production of Othello isn't the first time Walker has stepped into the role, having played a modernized version of the character in an ITV1 film.



Walker's Othello is both regal and physically imposing. The actor's raspy voice lends itself to the Moor's initially calm and eloquent manner, holding his ground with dignity, genuine emotion, and grace in the face of Brabantio (John Stahl)'s rage. Although it's a small part, Stahl's characterization of Desdemona's father is memorable. Transforming the character from its typical interpretation as a sad, old man into an outraged if not double-standard bearing racist father at odds with his daughter.



Brabantio, and others, seem to lead the charge in the process of dehumanizing Othello, finding it hard to believe him capable of kindness. Walker's interaction as Othello with Zoë Tapper's stellar portrayal of a strong, yet sweet natured Desdemona as a pair of blissful newlyweds proves this otherwise, the actors showcasing believable tenderness in their scenes together.




Milam's interpretation of Othello, although more than relevant to the unspoken racial tensions of the present day, manages to pull off an authentic replication of 16th century Venice and Cypress with costuming that while not terribly elaborate, is no less beautiful and true to the period. His direction makes use of the massive pillars of the Globe theatre's stage set up to punctuate the dialogue. A sparse catalogue of props: a table, two benches, one stool, and one bed adequately keeps the focus on the top notch acting of the cast. An effort of pure passion by the director and cast, during the readings, various quartos and folios were used to create this interpretation seen here. Each cast member enjoyed different readings and rallied to get theirs incorporated into the final interpretation seen here. --Pop-Matters.com

Customer Reviews

The live setting of the production, complete with audience members, makes this film truly delightful.
Meredith L. Burton
The choreography is amazing, as are the dancers - Yuan Yuan Tan and Desmond Richardson, who created the role of Othello, especially stood out.
Kilan
Zoe Tapper is amazing as Desdemona - beautiful and with a clear voice that makes her lines easy to follow.
NC Reader

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 43 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 18, 2003
Format: DVD
SF Chronicle: Classic. One of the most thrilling chapters in San Francisco Ballet's history is back in all its glory. Lar Lubovitch's "Othello," with a commissioned score by Academy Award winner Eliot Goldenthal, will be broadcast tonight on PBS' Great Performances and has just been released on DVD by Kultur. Although there is no substitute for witnessing dance live in the theater, this "Othello," directed for television by Matthew Diamond, is more than a souvenir of a great performance. It is a gripping, entertaining home-viewing experience. It stars Desmond Richardson, who created the title role in New York for American Ballet Theatre. San Francisco's Yuan Yuan Tan dances Desdemona, perhaps her greatest role. Parrish Maynard, an Iago in both companies, returns alongside a supporting cast that includes Katita Waldo as Emilia, Gonzalo Garcia as Cassio and Lorena Feijoo as the whore Bianca. Emil de Cou conducts the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra in a performance of Goldenthal's score that makes clear that "Othello" is a gift to American music as well as American dance. Taped live at the War Memorial Opera House in March 2002, "Othello" is a co- production by ABT, San Francisco Ballet and the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company. Premiered by ABT at the Metropolitan Opera House in 1997, "Othello" was revised slightly by Lubovitch and Goldenthal for the 1998 West Coast premiere in San Francisco. The piece grows more fascinating with every cast and every viewing. Turning the Bard's words into movement is a daunting task, and Lubovitch succeeds spectacularly: His "Othello" joins the select company of great Shakespearean dances that includes John Cranko's and Sir Kenneth MacMillan's "Romeo and Juliet," Cranko's "The Taming of the Shrew" and Jose Limon's "The Moor's Pavane.Read more ›
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By RCPadrick on April 4, 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Let me start out by saying, this review is not about the actual product DVD, as it is visually fine and the sound is good. This review is about the actual performance and interpretation of the play itself.

I grant, I am not a theater critic, nor am I a Shakespeare expert. I have, however, performed in and seen many Shakespeare plays, including a few variations of Othello, so I speak with a bit of experience. Here goes:

Eamonn Walker as Othello is mesmerizing. He is powerful, authoritative, and clearly the character closest to classical interpretation. The scene where he kills Desdemona is emotional and superbly performed by both actors, and while the actual killing is a new interpretation, it is a bold choice and, I believe, superbly done.

Zoe Tapper's Desdemona is very good, although her voice is such a pitch that it distracts at times. She brings an innocence and dignity to the role that is often tough to find. I enjoyed her performance. The same can be said for many of the secondary characters, including Cassio, Brabantio, Montano, Emilia, and Bianca. While choosing black actors for Emilia and Bianca is a bit strange at first (given the racial overtones of the show), both actresses turn in solid and beautiful performances.

Now comes the reason I give only three stars: Iago. Tim McInnerny makes Shakespeare's greatest and most complex villain forgettable and without depth. He speeds through his lines with a raspy half-yell that rarely changes tone. Whether he is giving an aside to the audience or screaming to the balcony at Brabantio, the same level and energy comes forth. I was completely and thoroughly disappointed. At no point did I feel anything for Iago, much less the sheer menace and brilliance with which he is written.
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22 of 27 people found the following review helpful By NC Reader on May 11, 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Theater in Shakespeare's time was popular entertainment for the masses and not highbrow art. The Globe Theatre in London continues that tradition with this production of Othello. In contrast to productions of Othello in which the actors are self-consciously striving to be "deep", the actors here are playing for the crowd.

By no means does this make the quality of the performance suffer. Eamonn Walker brings a brooding physical presence to the stage as Othello. Zoe Tapper is amazing as Desdemona - beautiful and with a clear voice that makes her lines easy to follow. It is Tim McInnerny as Iago who rules the stage, though - the audience is alternately laughing at him as he manipulates the hapless Rodrigo, and then is horrified as he manipulates Othello.

Add to this the reconstructed Globe Theatre in London, and you have a winning combination. You need not be a Shakespeare scholar to enjoy this production - just a human being.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Miffed Geek on May 22, 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
If you've never seen a production at the Globe, this DVD is worth the price just for the chance to see this unique playing space in action. The audience interaction is wonderful, and the gathering darkness reinforces the tone and mood of the final scenes in ways that I hadn't anticipated. It's easy for modern-day readers to forget that Shakespeare wrote his plays with outdoor performance in mind, and that early modern audiences were only inches from the actors, and this production makes inventive use of these staging conditions. The play is performed with very few cuts -- it's a rare chance to see often-cut material like the Clown scenes, and this makes it an excellent version to use in the classroom.

Unfortunately, Tim McInnerney's Iago is not wholly convincing, especially in his soliloquys and his big scene with Othello (3.3). While his scenes with Roderigo are entertaining, he comes across as too angry throughout this production, and it's hard to see why Othello and the other characters trust him. I found it difficult to imagine an Iago with so little control over his own emotions as a plausible manipulator. Zoe Tapper's Desdemona, on the other hand, is pitch-perfect. She's too often played as a shrinking violet, but Desdemona is the descendant of Shakespeare's earlier comic heroines like Rosalind and Beatrice. Tapper's Desdemona is genuinely innocent, and bewildered at the change in Othello's behavior, but at the same time, she's a bold young woman who defies her father to marry for love, banters with Iago, and pleads Cassio's case at the risk of further antagonizing her husband.
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