Choreographed by one of Italy’s leading contemporary dance choreographers, Fabrizio Monteverde’s Othello – originally created for Balletto di Roma and then performed by the ballet company of Teatro di Corte San Carlo, Naples (February 2015) – focuses on the psychological twists and turns determining the dynamics of the complex ambiguity of the relationship between Othello, Desdemona and Cassio. The ballet is set to the music of Antonin Dvořák and explores the constantly changing form of the triangle of relationships, the way in which Iago’s plotting affects the exchanges between the protagonists and the way that the “unspoken” role of Reason competes – often unknowingly but even more often through conscious lies – with that of Feeling.
Monteverde’s new version of Othello clarifies and amplifies the underlying idea that, although Othello is obviously “different”, an outsider, this is not so much because of the colour of his skin, but rather for the fact that he is a “foreigner” who plays by different rules of the game. The relocation of the action to a modern-day port (paying clear homage to Fassbinder’s Querelle de Brest) emphasizes how the quayside is a “free zone”, a no-man’s land in which people come and go with no questions asked, a melting pot of diversities in which everything is pacifically accepted as natural and necessary. In this continuously heaving mass of human exchange, the foreigner, the outsider and the alien no longer exist.
Furthermore, the role of the sea is no longer relegated to that of an evocative background for the exotic city of Venice or the island of Cyprus, but rather symbolizes the secrets and concealed waves of passion of the protagonists, their tempestuous ungovernability and their inevitable succumbing to pleasure, jealousy and murder.
The precocious romanticism of Shakespeare’s Othello easily lends itself to Monteverde’s highly provocative, deliberately extreme re-interpretation, while the use of Dvořák’s emphatically full score provides a subtly ironic counterpoint to the action of the characters on stage.
Emanuele De Maria
costumes made by
Sartoria Tailor’s & Co.