GREATEST LOVE, GREATEST BETRAYAL
A musical based on Shakespeare's Othello
The brilliant classic drama catapulted by music into the burning present
And told just as Shakespeare's most famous villain experiences it
You will love him...
The only thing that has changed in the past ten thousand years is technology. Human passions – love, hate, hunger for power, jealousy – all remain the same as they were back in the Stone Age. And mankind remains just as defenseless against them as ever, no matter whether it is armed with a hand ax or a laser-sighted handgun.
In the world of musical production history there exists only one successful attempt at retelling William Shakespeare's Hamlet through music. The minds behind that project, Hamlet The Rock Opera, are Czech composer and lyricist Janek Ledecký and American director and playwright Robert Johanson. Hamlet set out on its winning track in 1999 in Prague, and it has taken top prizes not only in the USA, but in Europe and Asia as well. Its number of performances is nearing 2,000. And the number of spectators reached (crossed) 1.000.000.
This is one of the reasons why it didn't take a lot of work for Robert Johanson to convince Janek to embark together once again on creating a musical retelling of another of Shakespeare's drama, which became a symbol of love destroyed by the devil's intrigues and morbid jealousy simultaneously.
William Shakespeare wrote the drama The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice for the Globe Theater in 1603. Since that time, Othello has charmed the stage in hundreds of stagings and in thousands of performances all around the world. It has also been filmed in six famous film versions. The only praiseworthy attempt at interpreting Othello though music thus far was Verdi's classic opera from 1887.
Janek Ledecký and Robert Johanson are getting ready to present an unexpected and very attractive version of the classic drama. They place the entire storyline in the white-hot present, and raise a racial conflict to a religious level. And of all places, in the Middle East. A place where still today, adulterers are stoned.
DO YOU ALSO SOMETIMES FEEL LIKE TRUTH AND LOVE WIN ONLY ON BILLBOARDS?
WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE KNEW IT LONG AGO.
THAT'S JUST HOW IT IS!
HOWEVER, IAGO'S CORRUPTION IS SO IRRESISTABLE AND HIS INTRIGUES SO ELEGANT THAT YOU WILL FIND YOURSELF TAKING HIS SIDE WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT
AND WHAT'S MORE:
YOU WILL HAVE A GREAT TIME DOING IT!
- commander of elite forces, an American of Arab descent, a man in his prime, a soldier to the core, and a devout Muslim.
- a beautiful blond Harvard graduate, Othello's new bride.
- Othello's aide-de-camp, a brightly talented Machiavellian and pragmatist who feels under-appreciated and has decided to fix that. The audience's guide throughout the convoluted storyline.
- his wife, a little simple, nevertheless as her only "experienced" girlfriend, she compelled to help the desperate Desdemona get her bearings in her relationship with Othello.
- deputy commander, the type of captain of some university football team. Elegant, charming, sexy. Michael is the embodiment of honest. But wits are not his strongest suit.
- his lover, an Arab pop star. She loves Cassio with all her heart. Also because it is a chance for her to break free from the Arab world.
MEMBERS OF THE COUNCIL:
- or rather a chief cut out of the mold of Condoleezza Rice, but with an unexpected sense of humor.
– full name Roger Stewart Hamilton VI, appropriately degenerate heir to a financial empire. He bankrolls the entire mission, so outwardly everybody treats him with respect. But they all have their own opinion of him inside.
- father of Desdemona. He's itching to be President of the USA. He needs money for the upcoming campaign. And not a Muslim in the family. He would "sell" her to Rodger at the drop of a hat.
- ambassador of the Vatican. Indeed, even eternal lamps in St. Peter's Basilica burn through oil. And oil deposits are just what Othello's elite military forces are to secure.
- representative of a Russian petrochemical oligarch. What else but a mobster…
SHEIKH ABDUL ASI
- oil magnate. The elite forces are to win back his oil fields.
- captain of the united Arab forces, commander of the Citadel. But only until Othello arrives with his men. He has a hard time dealing with being subordinate.
2 DANCERS OF THE ENSEMBLE BAHIYI,
SOLDIERS OF ELITE UNITS
The drama begins in a luxurious Geneva residence, and after two scenes are presented, the setting moves to an old military fort called the Citadel in the Middle East. Othello is the only one to carry an Arab melody in his musical motifs right from the start. As time moves on in the Citadel, the oriental arrangements and orchestration begin to appear in the motifs of other figures as well.
Othello is serving as a US Army officer. He is from a respected Arab family. He is a West Point graduate and is a well decorated Persian Gulf War veteran. Nevertheless, he found that as a Muslim, his career track in the Pentagon was but a dead-end road. He thus took the position of commander of elite military forces. These elite forces are financed by an Arab-Jewish-Christian oil clique, and where one's religion is no barrier at all.
Iago is Othello’s ambitious aide-de-camp. He spent his whole military career by Othello's side, and rightfully expects to be named his deputy. But the job goes to Cassio instead. A young and inexperienced diplomat recommended by the highest political circles. Iago justifiably feels double-crossed.
Othello is the family friend of senator Brady and his daughter Desdemona. Othello and Desdemona's friendship grows into love, culminating in their marriage. A secret one too, because Othello is the last one to whom Brady would give his daughter's hand. Especially because having a Muslim in the family wouldn't secure him many votes in his native Texas. All of this plays right into Iago's hand. That's when Iago sets into motion his devilish plan. And he takes advantage of anybody who happens to be close by to fulfill it. The first is Roger Hamilton.
Roger is a slightly thick-witted heir to the Hamilton empire who pays for the entire mission in the Middle East. And he is mainly hopelessly in love with Desdemona. Iago uses this to his advantage, and commences his ingenious chess match, in which everybody around plays a role. In Geneva, where the entire drama begins by revealing Othello's wedding, Iago is barely getting warmed up. The real fun starts with the move to the fortress Citadel in the Middle East. For a while it seems that Iago could be satisfied with the recalling and tarnishing of Cassio, which he elegantly orchestrated, but his taste was turning into a hunger. And Iago can no longer be satisfied by his naming as the leader's second in command. He wants Othello's position. And revenge to boot. One weapon that Othello cannot resist serves this purpose well. Jealousy. First so light, so smiling. Iago inconspicuously points out Desdemona and Cassio's friendship
and then, with the help of his eloquence and rigged pieces of "evidence", he begins to turn the heat up. To ultimately turn Othello into an incompetent beast.
In the end, Iago on a frantic and breathtaking ride gradually rids himself of all witnesses and eventually triumphs. He is named the new commander.
Iago commits even his most atrocious acts with irresistible charm and elegance. The magic of the entire drama is found in the way he gets you on his side, and slowly makes you his co-conspirator. He lets you in on his plan step by step, and affords you a sense of perspective and keeping a step ahead in the action. You will follow with wonder along with him just how easy it is to raise suspicion and even easier to succumb to it. And how all our steps and motives are so easily predictable...
And finally Iago's warning: BE VERY WARY, IT CAN EASILY HAPPEN TO YOU AS WELL. YOUR COLLEAGUE FROM WORK, YOUR NEIGHBOR, MAYBE THE ONE SITTING BESIDE YOU. ONE NEVER KNOWS...