You might have seen Othello before, but probably not like this. Off the Ground youth theatre’s series of classic plays culminates this week with their most ambitious and exciting project to date. From April 3 to 5, the company’s senior members will be performing Othello in the magnificent Lady Chapel in the Anglican Cathedral.
Off the Ground Theatre started working on the Wirral 18 years ago and have produced more than 100 shows, featuring young talent from across Merseyside and the North West. Over the last year the company has worked on a huge outdoor martial arts extravaganza (Monkey) , a children’s show (Trojans), and a modern updating of A Caucasian Chalk Circle, and they say Othello is set to be a fitting climax to the year’s celebrations. The group have been working for twelve weeks to create the world of intrigue and pent up emotions that makes this such an exciting and enduring play.
Othello is Shakespeare’s tragedy of a great love torn apart by jealousy and betrayal. As an African prince who has defied racism to rise to the rank of General in a European army, the esteem in which Othello is held as a soldier is second only to his love of the beautiful and virtuous Desdemona. However, “honest” Iago spins a web of lies that threaten to break the bonds of unity between lovers.
Disharmony spreads as Iago’s malicious deeds force Othello to doubt the honourable Desdemona, with tragic consequences. The title role is being taken by 17-year-old Elliot Davies (pictured above). He says, “Although racism is an issue in Othello, its not what the whole play is about – indeed the majority of the characters don’t seem to be racist at all. It’s about what it is to be madly in love and to believe that that love is leaving you. Its about the desperation of a passionate man.”
The venue was also seen to be an important part of this production. “We want the audience have the set surrounding them, so they really feel part of the action,” said Ben Bridson (18, also pictured) who is playing Iago. “When you enter the Lady Chapel you could be entering some great Venetian hall or seat of government – it’s exciting before the play has even begun.”
Tickets are available from Off the Ground on 0151 625 2929, online at offtheground.co.uk or on the door, numbers permitting..
Tickets £10 (£6)