As Hutcheon points out, a performance of a play would generally not be considered an adaption, since the possibility of different performances is a part of the medium of the play. There are some cases that could be said to blur the line, however, by deviating from the audience’s expectations as to how the play should be enacted. For example, in the 1990s there was a race-reversed production of Othello
, starring Patrick Stewart:http://www.playbill.com/news/article/35752-Patrick-Stewart-Stars-in-Race-Reversed-Othello-in-DC-Nov-17
Whether this casting choice is significantly more “adaptive” than the choices that are ordinarily made in a production of a play could be debated. In any case, I have focused only on adaptations that involve another medium in some way.
In addition to the Verdi, there is a 1999 opera adaptation by Daron Hagen with libretto by Paul Muldoon, entitled Bandanna
. It is set in 1968 on the US-Mexican border, and draws on both Othello
. A recording of the premier is available on VHS, but not held in NYC; NYPL has a CD of another performance from 2000. There is also a pretty detailed Wikipedia page:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bandanna_%28opera%29
There was also a rock musical called Catch My Soul, originally starring Jerry Lee Lewis as Iago. A cast recording is available on vinyl at NYPL. The musical was made into a film in 1974 (see below).
There have been dozens of film and TV adaptations of Othello, some of which are available online:
• There was also a 1909 silent film from Germany, directed by Franz Porten. It does not appear to be easily available.
• There was another Italian silent film in 1914, directed by Arigo Frusta. It is held at the Library of Congress.
• A 1922 German film starring Emil Jannings is available at NYU and Columbia.
• There was a 1955 Soviet adaptation starring Sergei Bondarchuk. It is not available on DVD, but a VHS tape could be had through ILL.
The film is based on a novel called Jubal Troop by Paul Wellman. From what I’ve been able to find, it’s not clear exactly how much the novel (as opposed to the film) has to do with Othello. The novel is available at NYPL.
• All Night Long is a 1962 British film starring Richard Attenborough, set in the London jazz scene. NYPL has it on DVD.
• The 1965 film starring Laurence Olivier is available on DVD at Columbia and some of the smaller area libraries.
• BBC produced another version in 1981, starring Anthony Hopkins. NYPL has it on DVD.
• Othello, the Black Commando
is a 1982 adaptation in which Othello is a mercenary in Africa and Central America. A VHS tape is available at the Folger. YouTube has the first 27 minutes of it, but the video suddenly cuts off:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c643EpjD7l0
• The 1989 film with Trevor Nunn is available at Columbia.
• O is a modern adaptation from 2001. It is available on DVD at NYPL.
• Omkara is a 2006 Hindi film adaptation. It is available on DVD at the GC library, as well as NYPL and elsewhere.
An adaptation called Otel·lo
played the festival circuit this year. Some info is available at the film’s Web site:http://www.otello.cat/en
There is a 1985 graphic novel adaptation of Othello by Oscar Zarate, based on the original text of the play. NYPL has it off-site.
Here is a video of a stage performance called Hip Hop Shakespeare: Othello Retold
by the Hip Hop Shakespeare Company:http://vimeo.com/8370585
Here is a video of James Earl Jones performing some lines from Othello
at a White House event – maybe not an adaptation to another medium, but at least a re(/de)contextualization:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uihbX1ho2_k
The New York Times published a lesson plan for grades 6-8, in which students are asked to speculate about the plot of Othello based on character descriptions, and then given a synopsis of the play that they must adapt to a modern setting:
It’s interesting that the students don’t read the original play at all. Could such a lesson be considered an adaptation?
Finally, related to Shakespeare more generally, there is a Chicago-based troupe called the Improvised Shakespeare Company that performs improvised plays in a “Shakespearean” style:http://www.improvisedshakespeare.com/
Merry Wives of Windsor content will follow tomorrow.