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Posted on: March 29th 2017

Speak of me as I am! A 6th former writes...

We're delighted that our amazing Ms W has passed us this review of 'Othello' written by one of our academic and driven 6th formers. We're also very proud of Ms W for developing Debatemate at the school - we're in the Novice Final this year! There's some fantastic work being undertaken by our staff and we look forward to showing some of this off tomorrow evening at the Dance Spectacular. For now - over to your Lourdes...

Speak of me as I am! 

What are the perks of being a Literature student, you might ask? If you asked anyone in a more formal setting, they may provide an obvious answer which goes along the lines of ‘being exposed to a variety of literary works and genres’. But what should be added to this conventional summary of the Literature experience is being able to watch the literary works come to life. Thus on a blustery Thursday afternoon, both the year 12 and 13 Literature classes along with Ms Wildish caught the surprisingly empty W3 bus, squeezed into a Circle line tube and walked over the Millenium Bridge to catch the 2:30pm performance of ‘Othello’ at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.

If you happened to be watching the same production, then you may have identified our group through our excited gasps and low-pitched squeals at how beautiful the stage was. Candle lit throughout, small but intimate as well as boasting of rich medieval décor, the theatre was anything students studying a Shakespearean text could wish for and more. And though this may seem as an attempt to keep hold of English history (hey- I’m not complaining!), the purpose of the theatre lay in providing an unforgettable and valid experience for the audience. As Fahmida commented, ‘It enabled us to experience the play the same way the groundlings did in the Jacobean era!’. Did it get any better than this? Well what do you think? Picture an abrupt start with angelic voices, singing random musical notes in Tudor choral style which eventually lead to a head-bobbing version of Lana Del Rey’s ‘Video Games’. The minute the scene opened with Iago’s vibrant words, ‘Tush! Never tell me’, endless smiles amongst our excited group formed and most likely, never left till the end of the performance.

Imagine the words of your annotated copy of the play come to life right before your eyes where every emotion you assumed the characters had were confirmed. Klaudia said, “You could feel the actual emotions in the theatre- unlike how you would reading the play in hard copy” and I couldn’t agree more. We fell in love alongside Desdemona with Othello ‘for the dangers he passed’ and his ‘valiancy’ and gasped at how malicious Iago’s plans were during his super detailed soliloquies. Our hearts bled when Othello fell right into Iago’s traps and grieved at the deterioration of Othello and Desdemona’s marriage because quite frankly, we saw them as ‘ hashtag relationship goooooals’.

But right before the gory scenes and depressing verses, we were introduced to a twist in the structure of the play. For starters the Florentine lieutenant Michael Cassio who was very much male in the original Shakespearan play, came on stage-with long blonde hair, womanly features.. and was referred to as ‘Michelle’? Not only did it keep us glued to our seats/ standing positions because of the obvious change but because the director had tweaked the play a little to appeal to a modern audience. Sabrina said, “This made the play so diverse because Cassio was a female soldier and a lesbian- quite unorthodox for the Jacobean period but a good reflection of our post-modern world”. But it didn’t stop there. Just as we were expecting your typical medieval party scene to be a bunch of flutes and organised leg dancing with a lot of boring and repetitive clapping, the choir and the characters gave a hearty performance of Katy Perry’s ‘I Kissed A Girl’! Yes- you read that right. And to be honest, “The singing was great!” Rebecca commented. But don’t worry, the performance wasn’t completely different from the original play. We still got our dramatic deaths, brutal fights, poetic speeches of regret and self-hatred (big ups to Othello) and unity of characters. By the end of the performance, I don't think I was completely consumed with pity as the play was so beautiful that it was...perfect, highly ironic for a text that thrives on tragic flaws. But like Jenny said “I had an amazing time and understand the play way better than before”.

And now, I will conclude this review with big shoutouts to Ms Wildish for booking this great experience for both classes and then actually going with us and a shoutout to institutions like Shakespeare Globe’s Theatre that keep such amazing pieces like ‘Othello’ alive.

And perhaps some advice: your literature experience can only be heightened through watching texts come to life. Besides, you have to #GiveYourselfTheEdge

-Lourdes