This photographic essay documents an original-ish practices staged reading of Shakespeare’s Othello. The essay argues that such productions, in their rough approximation of early modern roughness, potentially offer a critique of – at the least an alternative to – modern productions of Shakespeare that are rehearsed for minute nuance and psychological detail. Moreover, this style of production, the essay further argues, this embracing of what Jeremy Lopez has called early modern drama’s ‘potential to be ridiculous or inefficient or incompetent’, has the potential to unearth aspects of Shakespeare’s plays that might be elided or eschewed by more polished and normative contemporary productions.
Rob Conkie is Senior Lecturer in Theatre and Drama at La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia. He integrates practical and theoretical approaches to Shakespeare in performance. He is the author of Writing Performative Shakespeares: New Forms for Performance Criticism (Cambridge, 2016) and The Globe Theatre Project: Shakespeare and Authenticity (Edwin Mellen, 2006), as well as numerous articles in Shakespeare-themed journals and edited collections. He has directed about one third of the Shakespeare canon.