An Interview with Othello

Ahead of the performances at The Wilde Theatre, Bracknell our Othello (Gary Stoner) speaks to Caroline Cook at getreading about the show’s musical twist:

Icarus Theatre Collective bring a musical twist to Shakespeare’s Othello

The Icarus Theatre Collective is a regular face on the bill at South Hill Park and the company is quickly gaining a national reputation for its bold and emotive productions, including several Shakespeare pieces such as Romeo and Juliet and Macbeth.

Othello looks to be no exception, with the dangerous tale of love and ambition told through a vibrant and passionate ensemble cast.

Gary Stoner as Othello
Gary Stoner as Othello

Taking Shakespeare’s tale of deception, jealousy and murder, the Icarus Theatre Collective have given it a musical twist, doubling the cast up as a live string quartet, to add a unique touch to their production.

“Everyone plays a string instrument except for me,” explains Gary Stoner who plays Othello.

“The way the director Max Lewendel has done it really works. It’s not your character playing an instrument, it’s an extension of your character.

“And with Othello not playing, it’s significant too. As well as him being black and not from Venice, it shows he’s not part of things.”

Although introducing music to the play, Gary says the production is still faithful to Shakespeare’s original text.

“A lot of modern productions have come in. The National Theatre set it in today’s warfare but we have done it in the traditional style, we’ve got the daggers out,” he says.

The Canniken Clink
The Canniken Clink

Committing a terrible act, but under the influence of Iago, Othello has become one of Shakespeare’s most divisive characters.

“I like him,” says Gary firmly. “I feel that he’s just undone by Iago. Othello is pretty trusting and he trusts Iago completely. If you trust someone that much and they say there’s something round the corner, you will expect to see it. I think he trusts Iago, they’ve seen things in war and that bond of friendship through war is very strong.”

Gary has been playing Othello since September, and he says his character is evolving with each performance.

“It’s not just rehearsing for Othello and getting it right. Ever since rehearsals finished I’ve been finding things to make it more honest and truthful. That’s what I do as an actor”.

Read the full article here.


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