"OTHELLO" by the No Man's Land Theatre Company
It isn’t often that April and I get to sit in the audience for a performance of an entire Shakespeare play, but the opportunity presented itself when the No Man’s Land Theatre Company invited us to attend a performance of Othello in early November. They aren’t kidding when they say No Man’s Land; the production had an all-female cast! Director Emily Messana was quoted in an interview which was printed in the program as stating, “We came up with wanting to do ‘Othello’ and were gonna do it through the New School, but there were a few complications with that. So we thought, ‘Let’s just make a theater company of our own!’” So we made our way to the Alchemical Theatre Laboratory on West 14th Street in Manhattan on Saturday, November 4th to witness this unique theatrical experience.
|Director Emily Messana|
At first we were struck by how entire sets were constructed using movable wooden boxes. All cast members would pick up boxes and move them where they needed to be. The movements were so well-choreographed that they became an integral part of the show.
|Gebriella Hailemariam (Othello)|
Gebriella Hailemariam gave a riveting performance as the gullible, betrayed Othello. It is a taxing role, and Gebriella gave it her all. There were many tears in the audience when Othello fully grasped what (s)he had done in the end. A most impressive performance was given by Taylor Cozort as the loving, obedient Desdemona. She has a strong, recognizable voice. We look forward to seeing more of her work. Sophia Rizzuto (Iago) and Madison Chu (Cassio) also gave stellar performances.
|Taylor Cozort (Desdemona)|
It is impressive enough that this production consisted of an all-female cast, but the company went even further to alter the genders and pronouns in the script. At some points, the changes in text were rather confusing - as in Desdemona’s chat with her servant Emilia, which became a conversation about “women” instead of “men.” The few minor inconsistencies, however, did not detract from the overall success of the performance. Thank you Mo Man’s Land Theatre Company for bringing Shakespeare back into our lives!
|Madison Chu (Cassio), Gebriella Hailemarian (Othello), Sophia Rizzuto (Iago)|