“Othello” is a Shakespearean tragedy, based on Giovanni Battista Giraldi’s “Un Capitano Moro,” that is estimated to have been written in the year 1603. The story centers around the lives of Othello, a Moorish general in the Venetian army, and his love, Desdemona, shortly after their elopement. This tale is fraught with duplicity, racism, envy, revenge and love, and it is because of these human elements that “Othello” is still widely regarded as relevant, even today.
Sweet Tea Shakespeare’s apt retelling of “Othello,” entitled “OthelLIT,” guides willing patrons through the winding trials of its characters by enveloping the audience in well- timed and hilarious satire, all the while with drink in hand.
“OthelLIT” is a part of STS’ traveling LIT series, which features intimate settings in Fayetteville and beyond, audience participation, adlibbing, drinking games, music ranging from Bon Jovi to Lily Allen and so much more. “OthelLIT” is the definition of a mixed bag. Each element of its reimagining – from kazoo trumpets to slow-motion knife fights and everything in between – exhibits an array of authenticity, wrapped generously in candid humor. Filled with pop culture references from a variety of eras, every audience member will be able to enjoy the endearing marriage of humorous contemporary colloquialisms and the eloquent speech of Shakespeare’s time.
The experience of audience members is full of surprises. Scene after scene provides complete immersion into a new kind of world. Villainous Iago, played by Nathan Pearce, has theme music (cue “Pink Panther” theme!) as he devilishly monologues. The dazzling Desdemona is denoted by whichever cast or audience member quick-changes into the blonde Renaissance wig and blue peasant dress; six separate people played the same beauty in one night. Usher’s “Yeah!” heralds each of Othello’s entrances. Three cheers for Music Director Jacob French for intuitively engaging the actors and audience while creating the perfect aura for the night through music and sound.
“OthelLIT” encourages the audience to participate in themed games and activities meant to enhance the whole experience, so grab a friend – or 10 – and allow yourself to be swept away in the colorful reverie. With Director Marie Lowe at the helm, the fluidity and talent of the actors and the willingness of the audience to go along for the ride, “OthelLIT” is a splendid evening full of fanciful fun for anyone of age in search of a well- earned laugh. As the actors laugh, ponder, gallivant and sing, they continue another strong season for STS.
“OthelLIT” will continue showing through Tuesday, Oct. 30, with tickets ranging from $17.50 to $25. Some military, senior or student discounts may apply for certain showings. By its closing night, the show will have traveled to Paddy’s Irish Pub, Dirtbag Ales Brewery and Taproom, the Arts Council of Fayetteville/ Cumberland County, Hugger Mugger Brewing Company in Sanford and Fainting Goat Brewing Company in Fuquay-Varina.
For more information and to order tickets or view showtimes and locations, visit sweetteashakespeare.com or call 910-420-4383.