Day three of our table work and we have closed the circle on the Hegelian “thesis, antithesis, synthesis”.
At the close of 18 hours of reading, discussing exploring and challenging the original cut we found ourselves with an edition of Othello that is different from the one we started examining on Monday, though not too different mind you, but different enough to keep the stage management team pretty busy updating and distributing pages.
When it was complete we then sat down and read that play together again. As a company we read with passion, commitment, and mastery of the story. We found ourselves making connections across hundreds of lines of text. I found two lines in Act V that inform my final speech in Act I. The story, as we are telling it now is unrelenting in pace and tone. Our Director and Dramaturg and every member of the company has created a way of telling this story that is completely true to Shakespeare but unlike any Othello that’s been produced in English in the last few decades. I found the process thrilling and I hope our audience will find the experience even more exciting, thrilling and engaging. (I suspect they will)
Table work is done and tomorrow we begin to stage the play. There will be a new set of challenges, and a host of fresh discoveries.
After all was said and done we were all smiling and congratulating each other. The first hurdle was behind us. Then I got on a Citibike and pedaled up to the Richard Rodgers theatre to see Hamilton!! Oh Man!! I wept like a baby.
Working in Theatre in New York is, for me, perfect. My mind, my spirit and my need to create are all challenged and sated when working with a company of enormously talented actors, designers, directors and stage managers. It makes me a better actor and reminds me that I am, now and forever, a student.