Play/Performance: The first one was a 2008 production by Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, starring Eamonn Walker as Othello and Tim McInnerny as Iago. While I liked this production, I would probably term it as adequate. In Othello, Iago is the hub of the story and I have to admit, McInnerny’s performance was not outstanding. His lines were delivered with a good amount of monotonal yelling (this could be because the production was performed at the Globe and the actors needed to project), but overall, he acted on one level with very few nuances or investigation into the character. Walker’s performance of Othello was more engaging as he embodied an intensity of character which added to the play. With a better Iago, I would have given it four stars.
Movie: Next I watched the 1981 BBC Production starring Anthony Hopkins as Othello and Bob Hoskins as Iago. Needless to say, it was a little hard to see Hopkins as Othello. He’s quite slight and came across more dainty than I was expecting. The personality of a forceful Moorish military commander didn’t quite break through and the darkened face was sometimes distracting rather than credible. However, Hoskins as Iago was fantastic. He lent just the right charm, teasing, roughness and pathological bent to a character that is as varied as he is hateful. His performance made the play for me. Without him, I would have only given it 3 stars. The character of Emilia was also well performed and her speech to Othello at the end of the play is truly electrifying. In fact, most of the lesser characters gave great performances.
Movie: Put me out of my misery. Honestly, I couldn’t finish this 2008 movie adaptation. No one gave a stellar performance and the actor who played Iago was atrocious! Is there a worse word than “atrocious”? If so, I’d use it. Carlo Rota played Othello and Matthew Deslippe was Iago. Too bad they didn’t give him “de-slip” right out of the movie. Ha ha! …… Okay, that was a bad joke! In any case, he delivered his lines woodenly, yet also like he was struggling to fit them into a comfortable syntax. I’d never heard of him before as an actor, and now I perhaps know why. It just wasn’t worth my time to complete watching this one.
Movie: And the last performance watched was the 1995 movie production of Othello starring Laurence Fishburne as Othello and Kenneth Branagh as Iago. How can you go wrong with Branagh? Seriously, you just can’t. There is slight embellishment, or perhaps interpretation is a better word, and, of course, there was the prerequisite sex scene where in the play it is uncertain whether Othello and Desdemona have consummated their marriage, but really, it’s a solid performance by all. Bravo!