Skip to comments.Lenny Henry on playing Othello
Posted on 02/05/2009 12:25:57 PM PST by nickcarraway
Some will be wondering where its going to end. Russell Brand to make his stage debut as the Prince of Denmark? Jo Brand to have a stab at Lady M?
At the age of 50, Lenny Henry is to give his Othello. Unless you count panto, it will be his first time onstage in a dramatic role. Given the clownish figure he has always cut in performance, his casting by theatre company Northern Broadsides has a counterintuitive whiff about it.
All the galumphy Tiggerish stuff has got to go, Henry concedes. A trim soldierly beard has sprouted around the mouth from which the words Keep up your bright swords and Put out the light, and then put out the light! will soon emerge in theatres across the North.
But should the casting of a man who has unquestionably been the most enduring and successful face of racial integration in Britain be quite such a surprise?
It was always on my radar, he explains. Its the part, isnt it, for a black actor. Its a pimp or a cop or a thief or a slave or Othello. Thats what the brothers down the gym are getting in shape for. 'What you doin, man? You playin a pimp? 'Nah, man, Im playin Offello on tour with Cheek by Jowl. Gotta get in shape.
This little routine begs the important question for a comic. Hes seen his wife Dawn French play Bottom and his mate Alexei Sayle play Trinculo. But in the role of a black general who is whipped up into such a fever of jealousy that he murders his young white bride there are not, it has to be said, a lot of laughs. Thats not the only part of my toolkit though, mlud, he replies.
(Excerpt) Read more at telegraph.co.uk ...
He was great in Chef.
Othello should be played by Edgar Winter, with Dan Hartman playing Iago.
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