British Universities Film & Video Council

moving image and sound, knowledge and access

Othello

Synopsis
Video recording, using a single, fixed camera, of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s 1985 production of Othello. Directed by Terry Hands with Ben Kingsley as Othello and David Suchet as Iago.
Language
English
Country
Great Britain
Medium
Video
Technical information
Colour / Sound
Recording date
13 Nov 1985
Duration
187 mins

Credits

Director
Terry Hands
Writer
William Shakespeare
Music
Nigel Hess
Production Design
Ralph Koltai
Costume
Alexander Reid
Cast
Ben KingsleyOthello
Niamh CusackDesdemona
David SuchetIago
Tom MannionMichael Cassio
Janet DaleEmilia
Brian HorsteadMontano
Gerard LoganRoderigo
John NolanGentleman 1 (Gentleman)
Joseph O’ConorBrabantio
Keith OsbornSailor/Gentleman 2
Max GoldGentleman 3 (Gentleman)
Paul WebsterGratiano
Penny RyderBianca
Rachel YardleyClown
Richard ConwayMessenger
Roger LlewelynLodovico
Russell BoulterGentleman 4 (Gentleman)
Trevor MartinDuke of Venice

Additional Details

Theatre
Royal Shakespeare Theatre
Theatre company
Royal Shakespeare Company
Production type
Stage Recordings
Plays
Othello
Subjects
Drama
Keywords
Shakespeare, William (1564-1616)

Notes

General
Ben Kingsley did not black up for the role but played Othello as an accentuated Arab. The intense physical relationship displayed between Iago and Othello was the starting point for many of the reviews, one critic noting the physical similarities between Suchet and Kingsley and suggesting that Othello and Iago are two halves of a whole. RSC productions of the play from hereon have cast a black actor in the title role.

"Ralph Koltai’s Star Wars set with its back wall of two massive black plastic rectangles, both reflective and transparent, each outlined by frames of bending light. Neither Venetian, except for a ripple on black walls and an impassive golden lion witness to the murders, nor Cypriot, it is a country of a mind in which darkness dominates." David Nathan, Jewish Chronicle (4 October 1985).
History
Press night 24 April 1985. The production transferred to the Barbican.
Stills
Stills from, and design notes on, the production are available on the Arts and Humanities Performing Arts Data Service (AHDS) at http://ahds.ac.uk/performingarts/collections/designing-shakespeare.htm
Reviews
Suchet, David ‘Iago in Othello’ in Jackson, Russell Players of Shakespeare 2 pp79-99. David Suchet discusses his preparation for, and conception of the character, especially Iago’s psychopathic jealousy. Kerrigan, John TLS: The Times Literary Supplement (11 October 1985), p 1140.

Production Company

Name

Royal Shakespeare Company

Web
https://www.rsc.org.uk External site opens in new window
Address
Royal Shakespeare Theatre
Waterside
Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire
CV37 6BB

Archive

Name

Shakespeare Centre Library and Archive

Email
scla@shakespeare.org.uk
Web
https://www.shakespeare.org.uk/ External site opens in new window
Phone
01789 204016 (bookings)
Fax
01789 262073
Address
Henley Street
Stratford-upon-Avon
CV37 6QW

Record Stats

This record has been viewed 2240 times.