Director Scott Schwartz is striking the set for Othello, Shakespeare’s tale of an interracial love poisoned by rumors and doubt when the Moor Othello, madly in love with Desdemona, is driven to murder by the lies of the racially driven Iago. For this production of Shakespeare’s drama, Schwartz decided to ditch the elaborate costumes and set designs audiences are used to seeing.

“This is such a great play, and the text is so great and so complex, that we really wanted to focus on that and we really wanted to put that front and center,” Schwartz says. Only basic objects like benches and chairs will be on the stage. “And there’s lots of sort of theatrical junk lying around — boxes and tools and ropes and big plastic prop claws — which the cast uses throughout the play as the sort of tools they need to tell the story,” he says. For example, at the top of the play, warriors rush the stage and go through boxes to grab swords and other props to use as weapons. Schwartz’s intention is to add a spontaneous element to a play many audiences already know. “Don’t get me wrong — we’re doing Shakespeare’s text, but we’re hoping that it will feel very improvisational,” he says. 8 p.m. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas. The show opens today and runs Tuesdays through Sundays through March 30. For a full schedule and tickets, call 713-220-5700 or visit www.alleytheatre.org. $21 to $71.
March 7-30, 2008

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Dusti Rhodes
Contact: Dusti Rhodes