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The Gospel of Othello defies boundaries


After a successful run of the first half of the year, Theatre in the Park will close with a play titled The Gospel of Othello, an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Othello.

The play, which premiered on Tuesday, is produced and conceptualised by renowned Sierra Leone theatre producer Patrice Naiambana and co-directed by award-winning actress Eunice Tava.
The Gospel of Othello is set in the period when black and white intermarriages were scorned.

The love between the Black Oth­ello and the beau­ti­ful Ital­ian Des­de­mona tran­scends all bar­ri­ers, but this is not enough to avert a tragic train of events.
The play fuses cultures from West Africa, Europe and Zimbabwe and relates to diverse audiences.
Per­formed in a mix­ture of Shona, Nde­bele and Shake­spear­ian verse, The Gospel of Oth­ello offers us a fresh perspective of see­ing Othello. It is a fast-paced story of deception, love, hate, discrimination, greed, power, colonialism, culture and racism, among other issues.

The Gospel of Oth­ello is no longer the ordinary story the scorned Othello labelled as “the black old rum” by the people he serves. It ceases to be a mere story of Desdemona “the little white ewe,” but becomes a thematic framework laden with meaning.

An unidentified Nigerian member of the audience at the premiere hailed the play for managing to capture different cultures and relating to the audience.

Co-director Naiambana said The Gospel of Othello was inspired by mothers’ sad experiences when their sons and daughters leave home.

The dilemma of women is carried on through scenes of domestic violence, abuse and meaningless murders over rumours spread by their male counterparts.

A typical abused woman is also portrayed when Desdemona tries to defend Othello, blaming herself when he is caught trying to kill her. Rooftop Promotions director Daves Guzha said Theatre in the Park was trying to revert back to its traditional ways of involving independent plays — plays not done by Rooftop.

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