Get Cultured — June 18, 2015 at 12:30 pm

“Othello” — A New Twist On A Classic Play



When Daniel Echevarria set out to compose a production of Othello,” he had a specific goal in mind, one that not only meant a great deal to him, but one that means a great deal to a wide community of passionate people. Though many are well aware of Othello’s story (he is, after all, a product of the overwhelming genius that is William Shakespeare), few have given much thought to the ideals and sentiments such a story could represent. Further, how the events and results described in the story could transfer into modern day occurrences–occurrences we are all very well aware of, but whose severity and gravity are perhaps not fully understood.

“Othello” has been described by many as a “tragedy of character” and what more appropriate term than that could be used to describe the state of our current society? Particularly, the gap between races, the bitterness, the resentment, and the overwhelming injustice felt by young and old alike. Echevarria wants to take these feelings and illustrate them on the stage, in the form of two separate productions of “Othello.” He intends to extend opportunities to thespians who may have been turned down for roles in the past, due solely to their skin colors. This means a 100% Hispanic cast, so as to give equal chance to any talent that has been overlooked or ignored for any race-based reasons. Differing from other variations, this play will be placed in Hispaniola, focusing primarily on the history of the Haitian and Dominican conflict that has existed for centuries now. This is something Echevarria deems truly important to himself and the Spanish community, due to the fact that this conflict is either unheard of or disregarded by most. The other production will include any race, any skin color, and any denomination because, after all, the point in mind is equality as much as anything else.

Seeing as Othello met his end due to what was a result of a society’s unwillingness to accept one another despite differences, Echevarria wants to shed light upon this conclusion and let it serve as not only a reminder, but a warning, of what could happen if society as a whole does not loosen our grip on the rigid racial boundaries we have set amongst ourselves.

Despite this play being one that is very popular and well-known, younger audiences (and even older ones who did not fully grasp the entire synopsis) may be unaware of how prevalent these themes and ideas still are at this point in time. The production of these shows could pioneer a new generation of theatrical performances, along with what will hopefully be a new, more educated, and more accepting mindset of audiences and performers alike.

Echevarria plans on staging his productions of “Othello” at the Davenport Theater on 45th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues, starting August 18th and running through the 22nd, with a very possible extension.

Twisted Talk: Have you seen Othello before? What do you think of Daniel’s vision for his productions? Discuss below!

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