Thursday, September 28th, 2017...5:37 pmhrbekm

Othello as a Mockumentary

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I would be fascinated to see Othello in the format of a mockumentary TV series like The Office or Parks and Recreation, having normal scenes interspersed with cuts to characters speaking to the audience alone as if in interviews. It would have to be shown on a screen rather than a stage, and the medium of storytelling would naturally require some adjustments to the narrative and setting.

As the hypothetical director of this project, I would step away from sixteen century warfare and into the present time period. However, I think to keep the dramatic plotting and scheming in the original work central to the plot, I would want to stay away from the humdrum workplace settings that are typical to mockumentary citcoms. Even if they were thrown into the year 2017, I definitely envision these characters engaged in high-stakes political affairs in the upper crust of society. Accordingly, it would be more dramatic than strictly comedic.

This format would be especially interesting as a means to explore Iago’s character. Some of the lengthier asides in his dialogue might even work more effectively if he were saying them “off stage,” so to speak. Instead of speaking at length about his hidden intentions to Roderigo, for instance, I might have him rant to a camera. And though his character would probably be the most fascinating to unpack through the mockumentary format, I would also want to explore the reactions of other characters to the events of the narrative as they occur. Is Othello’s willingness to buy into Iago’s set-up a result of any conscious insecurities? What does Desdemona really think of everyone? These are questions I’d like to know the answers to.


  •   Professor Seiler
    September 29th, 2017 at 12:37 pm

    Melanie–what a great idea. The mockumentary form–and especially the convention of the “talking head” interview–would expand our access into characters’ minds *other than Iago* and all his soliloquies. Great idea!

  • Love this idea…I know you said you want it to be more dramatic than comedic, but when I think of Parks and Rec and The Office I think comedy. Do you still want to make your mockumentary as hilarious as their inspiration?

  •   Lily Tarwater
    October 1st, 2017 at 10:24 am

    Melanie, this is such a creative idea! The thought of discovering Desdemona’s actual thoughts is especially intriguing. As mockumentary forms are inherently comical, how would you balance Othello’s serious themes with humor?

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