Sir Patrick Stewart To Play White Othello

How’d I miss this?

Sir Patrick Stewart wants to do Othello again (he’s performed the role before, in 1997).  This time, though, he wants to do it white:

‘In the big picture, everyone should be able to play anything and I am against embargoes on actors playing roles that differ from their own ethnicity or gender…I am in favour of as much diversity as possible because it’s art — it’s not politics, it’s not government, it’s creativity.’

What I don’t understand, however, is that Stewart played Othello white in 1997 as well, didn’t he? I remember that story, because they did a “mirror image” version with a white Othello and, I’m assuming, a black supporting cast.

Then again, I think the article is just weak on this point. I see here where Stewart clearly says, “I want to play a white Othello again.”  Note the again.


Maybe this time it won’t be a “mirror image” gimmick, and it’ll just be … what’s the term for it?  Race blind?  Race agnostic?  I wonder, then, how they’d deal with all of Iago’s racist language at the beginning.  Interesting.

One thought on “Sir Patrick Stewart To Play White Othello

  1. Interesting. Would really like to see it. The RSC is currently doing a version with a black Iago. http://www.rsc.org.uk/whats-on/othello/

    I want to agree with Stewart's comments, but I think it's very important to be conscious of whitewashing, particularly in Shakespeare where the canon already is very white. If this does happen, I think they need to redo the film negative/mirror concept. I don't think race is an inherent theme in Othello, but the idea of an outsider is. Othello needs to feel like he's in a world he doesn't belong in, for the paranoia to set in.

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