Two of Shakespeare's most compelling plays of personal tragedies, Othello and Macbeth, are to be seen in the UK in entirely new versions that place them in a contemporary context. O.J. Othello, first seen in the UK at the last Edinburgh Festival where it was awarded The Scotsman newspaper's prestigious Fringe First Award for new work, interweaves the story of O.J. Simpson with that of Othello. While O.J. Simpson is shown as a black man who struggles from the ghetto to become an all-American hero in a white society, Othello is seen as another tortured black hero who, having been accepted by the establishment, is driven -- by his won jealousy and insecurity -- to murder his white wife. The play, performed by Frank Shepperd, is written by Maarten van Hinte and directed by John Leerdam for Cosmic Theatre, a multi- and intercultural company based in Amsterdam. It runs at west London's Riverside Studios in Hammersmith from January 19 to February 19. For further information, contact the box office on 011-44-181 237 1111
Meanwhile, the world premiere of Deborah Levy's Macbeth False Memory will be presented by Actors Touring Company for a sixteen week national tour, including a London season at Hammersmith's Lyric Studio, from April 26 to May 20 (Box Office: 011-44-181 741 2311). Based on Shakespeare's play and its sources, the piece merges film with live performance in a multi-media experience, directed by the company's artistic director Nick Philippou.
-- By Mark Shenton, What's On Stage
What's On Stage, London