Wise Family Theatre brings Shakespeare’s words to the modern era
Published: Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Updated: Friday, May 17, 2013 13:05
The Wise Family Theatre has adapted William Shakespeare’s “Othello” and brought the setting to modern times.
The story is one that truly only The Bard could tell. Set in Venice and Cyprus, the high-ranking general Othello (Will Badgett) plans to marry Desdemona, (Avery Segapeli) daughter of a powerful Venetian senator to the dismay of the rich Roderigo (Abel Garcia) who confides in the villainous Iago (Nick Balcazar) to help him dissolute the marriage, through deception, treachery and of course, tragedy.
Although performed during the Elizabethan days of theater, “Othello” is as relevant today as it was all those years ago, said Chuck Gorden, director of the play.
“It speaks to every generation; the issues are larger than life, and yet it has experiences in our life we can understand,” Gorden said. “We’ve all had those moments of jealousy, people deceiving us so everything that happens in the show it cuts to the core of the human experience. It’s pretty universal.”
“Othello” serves as an opportunity to become acquainted with one of Shakespeare’s classic works, but also with the work that students and professionals display on stage.
Cassidy Guest, freshman pre-nursing major, said she encourages students to attend the play not only for its entertainment value but also for the richness of the material that is presented.
“It was my first play and it was really interesting, they actually portray the parts the way they were supposed to,” Guest said.
In terms of characters, Guest said Iago was her favorite, as he was really fun to watch. “An important thing about Othello, to me, is that he is a man who lived his life on impulse, doing what he believed was right,” Badgett said. “Now, that is the thing that I believe keeps the relevancy of the play.”
Abel Garcia, sophomore performance and theater major, who played the tormented Roderigo, said he had a great time working under Gorden’s direction and Badgett’s presence.
“Working with Will has taught me so much,” Garcia said. “It’s given me the confidence to be bold as an actor, working with this cast. They’re all great, they push me.”
Garcia’s portrayal of Roderigo showed how he would follow anyone just to get what he needed, but at the same time he created sympathy for the character.
“Playing Roderigo, it speaks to me because he is so misunderstood,” Garcia said. “He is a cry for attention and is willing to get the attention of the woman he loves and I had a lot of fun, I hope I’m serving it any kind of justice.”
Gordon said that attending the play is a great experience for anyone. He mentioned that watching the actors perform on stage had a certain electricity to it.
“It’s fresh and exciting and also live as opposed to something that was made six months ago or a year ago,” Gorden said. “This is happening right now and that’s what makes it really exciting is to be there with these actors, there is just a greater sense of electricity going on.” The last performance of “Othello” will be at 8 p.m. Sept. 25 at the Wise Family Theatre.
Oscar Garza may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I thought it was really good, he sounded crazy just like they portray him,” Guest said. “I think it (the modern setting) relates more to the way it actually is nowadays so it kind of makes you think a lot more.”
William Badgett, is a professional actor who has worked in the Boston Shakespeare Company adaptation of “Othello.” He said that collaborating with the cast has been very special whether on stage or during rehearsals.
“I wasn’t saying to them to do this or try that, but I was trying different things and hoping that they would see that they have that freedom also,” Badgett said. “My feeling is that during rehearsal we are all trying to find our way.”
According to Badgett, the character of Othello remains relevant because he does things that have terrible consequences but he believes they are right and as he continues doing that, things get worse and worse.