The reason you come back to Shakespeare is because he’s endlessly relevant and it’s such a fantastic opportunity as a director to talk about the times we live in now via some of the greatest verse characterisation that you’ll ever get your hands on.
It’s just a win win for a theatre to have a Shakespeare in the season. Young people flock to him and artistically as a director you really get to do what you want.
I suppose the nearest I’ve done to this was The Scottish Play (Macbeth) because of course Othello is a tragedy. I was drawn to this for a lot of reasons and I suppose the thing to say is that Othello is going to be a woman.
That decision came from a desire to make the play as electric as it might have been to the very first audience who saw it. Wherever you set a Shakespeare, as a director, you’re always trying to make the audience feel as alive to it as that original audience was.
For me, I thought, there’s still a question, an electric frisson for an audience about what would it be like if a woman was in charge of our Armed Forces. And was a front line which is actually now not technically possible. Combined with the fact that she is also of colour and those issues.
I suppose, as a woman – I’m aware of power and what that’s like in a society that for millenia has been controlled by men and I’ve watched myself over thirty years duck and dive some of those minefields of old rules. So it’s something that I’m alive to.
Our Golda, Golda Rosheuvel, is a remarkable actress and she has a fantastic singing voice. She’s a remarkable woman and we’ve talked a lot about playing this role. I just love Shakespeare, it seems such a cliché for a director but I’m very, very, excited.