Like theatre groups up and down the country, this year the Adult Learning Group at Delrow community found a fresh way to celebrate the genius of William Shakespeare.
'To mark the 400th anniversary of his death, the sixteen members of the group scripted and performed their own version of Othello – capturing the tragedy in 30 minutes of condensed, contemporary dialogue.'
Getting to the essence
'We looked at the motivations of the different characters and tried to imagine what people would say', explains Catherine, who leads all the drama activities at Delrow. 'So we kept the essence but cut out quite a bit of the language.' The production used dramatic lighting to convey changes of scene as well as mood. And the performances were riveting.
Praise for the players
David was an utterly wicked Iago. Eddie and Gemma, who played Othello and Desdemona – and are boyfriend and girlfriend in real life – truly tugged the heartstrings. 'I was killed', explains Gemma.
'"Iago I believed you, but my wife was innocent." I said that in the play after I'd killed her', says Eddie.
'Then Iago said, "You fool, Othello. You think you are a leader, but you are nothing."'
There were tears, there was laughter (luckily in the right places) and afterwards, the audience of friends and family members were full of praise for the team.
A role for everyone
Othello was just one of the productions the group put on this year. As soon as they finish a play, they start working on the next.
Some people are happy taking on leading roles, while others enjoy being involved but having a smaller role, helping to make props or to work on the script', says Catherine. 'There's something for everyone to take part in.'