Q4 BENCHMARK: Performing “Othello”

Haneef Nelson 


Prep Journal #1

(looks to the crowd)’be rubbed this young pimple until he’s ready to pop, (pause and looks away) And now he’s angry. (looks to crowd) Whether he kills Cassio, (little pause) or Cassio kills him, (little pause) or they kill each other, (little pause) it all works in my favor. If Roderigo survives, though, he’ll ask me for all the gold and jewelry that I stole from him and said I gave to Desdemona. (hmm, looks to the crowd) I can’t let that happen. (looks away from the crowd) If Cassio survives(pause),he’s so handsome and well-spoken that he makes me look ugly. (looks to crowd) And besides, the Moor might tell him about my lies about him.—That would be very dangerous for me. No, he’s got to die. Let it be so. I hear him coming. (puts finger on his chin and rubs it as if he is thinking)

Prep Journal #2

In Act 5 scene 2 the secondary character I chose to closely observe is Emilia, so this is “Emilia, The Story”. During the scenes that Emilia are in, first hand observes she Desdemona slowly dying and her husband, Iago lying and getting caught in a lie in front of Othello in order to keep his plot going. During the same act Emilia second handedly observes Desdemona and Othello speaking about death before and right after Othello kills his wife. We understand Emilia’s motivations better when we concentrate only on their scenes because we see how they're thinking specifically and we focus in on it, instead of reading and analyzing and searching for all the other characters wants and needs.

Prep Journal #3

Iago grew up in a one parent house, with just his abusive father. His father never had a steady house or hold hold, as in the way he ran his house. He always had a new girl friend, and lived this life style around the young Iago. Whenever Iago would mention his mother, his father would sit him down and tell him she was just another strumpet and hit him. Iago grew up with out learning how to respect women, but one thing his father did teach him was how to praise the king. He taught him to conform and not obstruct authority, but the young Iago didn't like to conform. Which is why as he aged  didn't change, he was still the same trouble maker, which is why you find him in the situation he's in now.

Prep Journal #4

My scene is the one between Emilia and Iago when she gives him Desdemona's handkerchief. A specific movement or action I have to do during our scene is wave my arms around to sell what I'm saying, and make grins as well as touch my chin as if I'm hinting things to leave Emilia on edge. It leads into the scene because she's out of the "loop" and with me hinting at things, it makes her want to know what I'm talking about, which is a part of the script. A prop I'm going to bring is a cape, because back then I'm assuming nobles wore capes. Also, I think with the way I thought of my character, Iago’s cape will go perfectly because of how I will dramatize what he's saying. I think how each of my members took on their characters personality is going to make our presentation stand out.

Journal #5

"...I will in Cassio's lodging loose this napkin, and let him find it. Trifles light as air are to the jealous confirmations strong as proofs of holy writ: ..." Scene 4 Act Scene 2

In this scene Iago is explaining how he's going to go about his plan to ruin Desdemona's name and make Othello broken hearted.  This is important to the play because this single action of him putting Desdemona's handkerchief in Cassio's room made Othello think she was cheating which is the plot of the play. In my groups scene in Shakespeare's Othello, I delivered my lines in a sneaky and plotting tone but, also in an excited way because he was happy to destroy Desdemona’s name and ruin everyones happiness but also didn't want any one to find out his plan. Yes my groups performance went exactly how we planned and practiced. The consistency during practice made it easy when doing the final performance. I am also very proud of my group and I performance. We all spoke clearly, used the stage directions, and added emotion to what we were saying. I wouldn't change anything about our performance, I'm proud of our performance. Acting out Shakespeare didn't change my understanding of anything because we didn't do anything but reread it and act it out. I got all the analysis parts from reading the book the first time as a class.

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Journal #2 passage excerpts