‘Othello’ still resonates 400 years later

Friday, January 18, 2019 - 14:50 in Psychology & Sociology

For one Harvard alumnus, it’s clear why the more-than-400-year-old story of doomed love between a Moorish general in the Venetian army and his bride is so relevant today. “The way in which otherness is detailed in terms of racial otherness, religious otherness, gender: everything about the play feels like it speaks to this moment to me,” said Bill Rauch ’84, the artistic director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, whose production of Shakespeare’s “Othello” is being presented by the American Repertory Theater through Feb. 9. “It just felt urgent,” added Rauch. Rauch recently sat down with Shakespeare expert and John Cogan University Professor of the Humanities Stephen Greenblatt for a conversation about the Bard’s resonance with modern viewers, the importance of a diverse cast, the music in the language of “Othello,” and more. Pride, jealousy, love, hate, devotion, ambition, and anger all swirl through the contemporary setting, fused together in a plot Greenblatt considers similar to those of...

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