The Year of Othello

April 24, 2013
Gapers Block
Sarah Shuel


It seems that the year's performing arts theme is the old Italian tale, Othello, popularized by Shakespeare. Chicago Shakespeare Theater offered up their own remixed version a few weeks ago, the Lyric Opera has included a production in their coming season, and now, it is brought to life in Lar Lubovitch's three act ballet at the Joffrey.

The ballet, created in 1997, begins its last stint in regular repertory this evening -- one day after Shakespeare's 449th birthday (and his death day), and the day deemed "Talk Like Shakespeare Day." Set to Lubovitch's choreography and music composed by Academy Award winner Elliot Goldenthal, the ballet tells the tale of the Venetian Moor, Othello, his love, Desdemona, and the web of lies spun by Iago that brings the entire cast of characters to a tragic end, wrought with betrayal and envy.

Through the refined and moving art of movement, the ballet will also play up the more subtle themes sometimes left out in today's productions of Othello. The production will more fully explore Iago's motivations -- suggesting the possibility that his lies spring not only from envy, but from an intense homosexual desire, a theme not strange to many of Shakespeare's works.

The Joffrey Ballet's production of Lar Lubovitch's Othello: A Ballet in Three Acts will run through May 5 at the Auditorium Theater of Roosevelt University, 50 E. Congress Pkwy. Tickets ($31- $152) may be purchased on the Joffrey Ballet's website or by calling Ticketmaster at 800-982-2787.