Othello was by far my favorite play by William Shakespeare, and one of my favorite plays that I had seen while being in Stratford. I love the use of technology to bring new elements to the play. My favorite element was, what I describe as a Rorschach test projected onto the backdrops. However, what I enjoyed the most about this play was the villain, Iago (played by Gordon S. Miller).
Iago is a master of deceit, something that can be seen by simply reading the play, but Miller uses his acting abilities to take the character to the next level. He has almost created two separate characters that we see within a matter of seconds from each other. Gordon is able to walk onto the stage as a friend to Othello. At times, the audience wants to believe he is on Othello’s side, that he is honest and noble. And the monster comes out. Like Dr. Jekyll himself, he is admired by those close to him, but when he is alone we see his true colors. The lights dim and black splatters across the backdrop like a Rorschach test, moving like a live plague. Miller darkens his expression and scowls out to the audience. The occasional maniacal laugh will jump out of him that can make your skin crawl.
The black background has a huge impact on each of Iago’s scenes. For some of the monologues, the black spots start very small, growing larger and larger as he continues to plot against Othello and those close to him. It moves like a cold, dark slime as if it is in place of Iago’s blood. The director does a wonderful job of showing just how much of an impact this has on the show by adding some humor to it at one point. Iago is seen talking with Othello, wide eyed and smiling. When Othello exits, the scene grows darker and the Rorschach explodes onto the backdrop. Iago begins one of his many monologues of how he will destroy Othello. Just as Othello steps back onto the stage, however, the lights come back up, the Rorschach disappears from the backdrop and Miller turns back around smiling and friendly, like a multiple personality. Then as Othello exits once more, Iago is back to his true villainous self.