The entire play takes place in the unnamed Prof's apartment, filled with books and a constantly brewing coffee pot. Murph shows up for tutoring through his first year Shakespeare class, arranged by his mother, the Prof's former student and Dean of Humanities at this unnamed East Cost school. The Prof is doing it as a favor, and as we find out later, as a last ditch effort to save her job at the university. She's reluctant at first, until she finds out Murph is reading Othello, her favorite play, or as she calls it "my Shakespeare." We then follow them through their weekly meetings for a little over a month. As they work their way through the play, it brings up things in both of their lives (as good art does), and the two form an uneasy and unlikely friendship. They both learn not just about Iago, Desdemona, and Othello, but about themselves, and what they want to do with their lives, she at the end of her career and he at the beginning of his adulthood.
|Linda Kelsey and John A.W. Stephens|
(photo by Alyssa Kristine Photography)
Gremlin's resident Technical Director Carl Schoenborn has designed a realistic college town apartment on Gremlin's thrust stage in their new (almost a year old) space off University and Vandalia in St. Paul. A brick fireplace, bookshelves stuffed with books, comfortable worn furniture, and a cluttered desk believably create the Prof's living and working space.
I've realized I enjoy listening to people talk about Othello for 90 minutes more than I enjoy watching Othello for three hours. Whether you love Shakespeare's plays, or avoid them, or fall somewhere in between, Taking Shakespeare might make you appreciate the Bard a little more, as well as the way people can connect and find meaning in art (continuing through June 3).