Wednesday, February 14th, 2018...9:30 pmVictoria

Staging Othello – Lights and Characters

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The way I would stage Othello would focus on the lighting within each scene, particularly on the scenes concerning Iago (specifically pp. 48, pp.82-85, and pp. 92-94). In my opinion, Iago is the cornerstone of this play (at least so far) and if the audience understands his motives and how he is feeling, then the other characters and elements of the play will follow his lead. If I could control the lighting for each scene, I would adjust the color and pattern of each spotlight depending on what is happening in each scene and the emotions being evoked at the time. For example, with Iago’s monologue at the end of Act II Scene III, on page 94, I would put an extremely bright spotlight on him in a spiked pattern, with red surrounding the spotlight, the red slowly fading into a bright electric blue as he says the words “Dull not device by coldness and delay” (346). The red would represent his constant underlying sinister plot against Othello, while the blue seeping in at those words “Dull not device by coldness and delay” (346) would signal that is actively putting on his facade once more of calm, calculated coolness.

To me, whenever I think of characters I associate them with specific colors. Iago is red and blue. Othello is purple and yellow. Desdemona is a rosy color as well as yellow (by using yellow for both Othello and Desdemona, that would link them together visually for the viewer, beyond just knowing that they are husband and wife). Cassio is a bright fiery red, maybe green sometimes. I think it would be amazing to use these colors on stage as visual cues to the viewer as to who the characters are. Also, scenes that contain all of the characters would be amazing because if you combined all of their colors on stage at once, it would create a chaotic rainbow of sorts, sometimes beautiful but sometimes just darkness, which I think is symbolic of the play in general.

Playing with the lights on stage would be such a useful tool, especially concerning Iago since his words are so deceptive and confusing. By using lights to convey his true intentions, the viewer could at all times know what his motives are, no matter his words. Or, as Iago speaks, you could see the spotlight trained on certain characters change into different colors as Iago’s words affect them. For example, when Othello learns that Cassio was drunk and violent towards Roderigo and Montano, when he was supposed to be on guard, Othello’s spotlight could change from his purple to a saddened blue, or a lighter purple, with sparks of red thrown in between to symbolize anger. Utilizing the lights would allow so many emotions to become evident, when the language or acting might not (especially since Shakespeare’s language is so dense and requires a good deal of concentration to understand).


  •   Lillian Carver
    February 19th, 2018 at 9:12 pm

    This is really a really interesting way of visualizing this performance. I think this kind of color-coded approach to media (think Heathers) is a really good way to established motives and hierarchy.
    I wonder if maybe costumes or set pieces might be a more effective way to show color? I love the detailed description of the lighting effects, but, especially with the spotlights, I worry that it would create more of a muddled effect of potentially just white light, instead of the rainbow you imagine.
    I think that there are other ways to get this colored imagery across. Personally, I really like the idea of colored costumes. I think even ensemble members could get highlights of colors for who they associate with.
    Overall, I think this approach to staging Othello is really unique and brings up some interesting ideas about the characters.

  •   Professor Seiler
    February 20th, 2018 at 9:07 pm

    Victoria–What a compelling approach to this post. Would it be too obvious, do you think, to use a green light on / between various characters–esp. Iago and Othell0–given the association (voiced in the play) of green with jealousy?

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