To Wangaratta, to see Bell Shakespeare’s production of Othello.
When we lived in Canberra, visits by Bell Shakespeare were must do dates in the calendar, so when we found that they were coming to Wangaratta for a single night, it was no different.
Othello is not a play I’m familiar with and know only from synopses and reviews of other performances so the play was essentially new to me.
The performance was done with no scenery, no props to speak of, and next to no costume other than some army surplus and charity shop items. Instead the performers let the language of the play carry you and suspend your disbelief.
A nice touch, which made the play a little more edgy, was to have an actor of mixed Chinese and Aboriginal heritage play Othello, otherwise it was just you the actors and language.
And it was powerful, and it must have been something like that when played on a wooden stage on a wagon in some country town in sixteenth century England …
The play was in fact performed in the Wangaratta performing arts centre, in a theatre strangely reminscent in design and decor of the MacRobert centre in Stirling, half a planet away, but that I think says more about seventies theatre design than anything else. Seats were good, acoustics good and the staff well organised.
One nice thing they did was instead of emailing a reminder a day or two before, they emailed out a synopsis of the play in case you didn’t know the play. Definitely an excellent venue and an excellent performance