What Makes Theatre Such a Compelling Experience
Roderigo turns off to Othello; and here comes one, if not the only, seeming justification of our blackamoor or negro Othello. Even if we supposed this an uninterrupted tradition of the theatre, and that Shakspeare himself, from want of scenes, and the experience that nothing could be made too marked for the senses of his audience, had practically sanctioned it,would this prove aught concerning his own intention as a poet for all ages? Can we imagine him so utterly ignorant as to make a barbarous negro plead royal birth,at a time, too, when negroes were not known except as slaves?As for Iago's language to Brabantio, it implies merely that Othello was a Moor, that is, black. Though I think the rivalry of Roderigo sufficient to account for his wilful confusion of Moor and Negro,yet, even if compelled to give this up, I should think it only adapted for the acting of the day, and should complain of an enormity built on a single word, in direct contradiction to Iago's 'Barbary horse.' Besides, if we could in good earnest believe Shakspeare ignorant of the distinction, still why should we adopt one disagreeable possibility instead of a ten times greater and more pleasing probability? It is a common error to mistake the epithets applied by the dramatis personae to each other, as truly descriptive of what the audience ought to see or know. No doubt Desdemona saw Othello's visage in his mind; yet, as we are constituted, and most surely as an English audience was disposed in the beginning of the seventeenth century, it would be something monstrous to conceive this beautiful Venetian girl falling in love with a veritable negro.
My operating theatre experience
Sometimes it helps to go beyond the texts themselves and consider what the live theater experience would have been like during the Bard’s lifetime, for a more thorough understanding of his works and the context in which they were written.
The story of is set during the 1958-59 school year, at exactly the same time that America was facing the preliminary rumblings of the Sexual Revolution that would arrive in the mid-1960s and blossom in the 70s, only to be ended by AIDS in the early 80s. And like did later, shows us how America reacted to this tumultuous time though two of its main characters. Danny Zuko (along with Rizzo and Kenickie) represents that segment of American teens already sexually active in the 1940s and 50s, who ultimately frees the conforming Sandy to express her sexuality without fear or shame, leading her into a new life and a new decade of sexual freedom – a theme also at the heart, though far more cautiously, of the 1959 film , starring Sandra Dee and Troy Donahue. Sandy Dumbrowski (notice how ethnic all the character names are, to suggest that they are working class) is mainstream America, reluctant to throw off the sexual repression of the conforming 1950s for the sexual adventuring of the 1960s. is the story of –and the story of America – the way sex was changing and the part rock and roll and cars and drive-ins played in that transformation. In the movie, the central love story may be the point, but on stage the romance is just a device for making a larger, more interesting point. isn’t about Danny and Sandy (which is why fifteen of the show’s twenty songs have nothing to do with them); is about how rock and roll changed sex in America. And those who criticize for its "immoral" ending don’t understand what this show is really about – and they really haven’t paid attention to the lyric of "All Choked Up."