In response to Peter Sellar’s 2009 production of Othello, Nobel Prize-winning novelist Toni Morrison and singer/song-writer Rokia Traore collaborate to create an intimate and profound conversation between Desdomona and her African nurse, Babary, from beyond the grave.
You may want to brush up on your Othello before watching this performance. The piece is, in essence, a dialogue with Shakespeare’s original play. And, although writer Toni Morrison would not call herself a feminist, the result of this dialogue is a womanist revision of the play’s characters and the norms set by the era in which they lived. Morrison’s masterful tracing of sly, systemic modes of enslavement–of women, of Africans, of “others” and “villains”–is carefully brought to the fore through a series of monologues delivered by Desdemona (played by Elizabeth Marvel) in the afterlife.
It is a project worthy of Morrison.
And project is indeed the right word for the production. As Peter Sellars emphasizes in his introduction to the performance (he gives an opening talk each night), the piece is neither strictly theatre nor concert. It is an ongoing project, a dialogue, and an exploration in which the audience are invited to take part.
Desdemona’s dramatic monologues are interspersed with and layered over by Rokia Traore’s haunting and very African music. Rokia Traore, through her music and finally through direct dialogue, plays Desdemona’s childhood nurse, the African Barbary. And while the character is only given brief mention in Shakespeare, relating how she dies of a broken heart singing an epic tale of love and loss, Morrison gives her equal staging–and equal voice–with Desdemona in this project.
Read more here.
- Celebrities We’d Like to See Without Their Weaves [PHOTOS]
- Diggy Simmons & Mindless Behavior Greet Cleveland Fans [PHOTOS]
- Comedian Dave Chappelle Gets Heckled And Bombs On Miami Stage [Video]
- God, Sex and Abstinence: Why I Wish I’d Waited
- Shocking! Police Strip Man In Snow, Beat And Tase Him On Video
- Patti Labelle Praises Ledisi As Her Successor [VIDEO]
- Lauryn Hill Gives Birth To Baby Boy [PHOTOS]
- Big Blow to Defense In MJ Manslaughter Trial
- Michael Jackson’s Brothers Protest Tribute Concert
- “Sunday’s Best” Second Group Performances [RECAP]
Sex Positions You’ve Never Heard Of (But Need to Try, Now)
Amber Alert Cancelled, 5 Yr Old Darnell Taylor Found Dead
Here's Where To Find The Best Corned Beef in Cleveland!
These AT&T Outage Posts Will Make You Laugh, Unless Your Phone Is Still Off
Get Your Tickets To The We Them Ones Comedy Tour!
Cam Newton Remains Unfazed After Getting Jumped At Youth Football Event, Social Media Reacts
Where Are They Now? Acclaimed R&B Duo Zhane
8 Things About Sexting That Actually Turn Women On