Past Scenes

33th Production (Co-Production with Companhia de Teatro de Almada/Teatro Nacional D. Maria II/Teatro da Trindade)
Premiere: 26/11/2005

ACTA - Othello ACTA - Othello ACTA - Othello

Tour: Faro, Lisboa

Othello was first performed on November 1st, 1604. It is considered the most intimate of Shakespearean tragedies, in the way it is not about the fall of a king or a nation's misery, the agony of a prince or the contradictions between love and duty; but it’s about the tragic way in which a husband becomes the murderer of his wife. Shakespeare focused on the details: the erotic intimacy between Othello and Desdemona, the particularities of Iago’s sinister tactic, the tragic irony of Desdemona’s pleading for Cassio fallen out of favour with Othello, the incident of the scarf which was casually lost; the murder of Desdemona and the suicide of Othello. The moral grandeur of Othello, Desdemona's innocence and the wickedness of Iago are the engine of a drama which inexorably, from the initial well-being, and through the crisis, heads for the final catastrophe.

Press highlight

‘The meticulous contrast of tones – brilliantly Machiavellianism in Luís Vicente’s farcical Iago’s –, the transparency of the speech and the strict management of such contradictory emotions allow each actor a superior intelligence of the Shakespearean web, not of a simple engaged look, but indexed to the dramatic process that structures it: the twisted and destructive manipulation that Iago’s despise conceives (see the worked evolution of Othello by Mario Spencer, or the malicious feminism of Emilia by Teresa Gafeira).’
Miguel Pedro Quádrio, Diário de Notícias, 11/12/05

‘Othello, by W. Shakespeare, directed by Joaquim Benite, that premiered in Theatre Lethes in November, in a co-production of ACTA and CTA – Companhia de Teatro de Almada, was nominated to the Golden Globes in the category of Theatre/Best Show. (…) Luís Vicente, who played Iago, is nominated for the Golden Globe in the category of Theatre/Best Actor.’
A voz de Loulé, 15/05/06

‘Joaquim Benite chose a beautiful classic horseshoe theatre, built by an Italian architect, and transformed by the set designer Jean-Guy Lecat – regular collaborator of such directors as Peter Brook, Luca Ronconi, Jean-Louis Barrault –who, more than a set designer, must be defined as an architect of the scenic space. (…) The director also chose the functional translation by Yvette K. Centeno, stripped of artifices and very straightforward, to make the “Othello happening” come to life, transforming the opera in a chamber tragedy, which evolves under the curious eyes of the audience. (…) Having said this, we must go down to the details, and underline that Mario Spencer’s Othello, a young African actor, with a navy general’s physique, and in his first leading role, left himself be taken excessively by the feeling of jealousy, offering us a character frequently stressed by weeping. Luís Vicente drew an Iago filled with ambiguities, and of a great interpretative efficiency: an Iago Deus Ex Machina from the facts that occur in this tragedy.’
Mario Mattia Giorgetti, Siparo

‘By situating the action during the First World War, Joaquim Benite, underlines the justness and the historical recurrence of this play, emphasising the male and military enclosed space, and being more interested by the notion of humiliation and narcissistic wound rather than amorous jealousy. (…) Benite shows us an almost stereotyped Othello, tormented by a blind jealousy (more derived from his African roots then his male condition) and subtly played by the Guinea actor Mario Spencer; a tenuous, fragile, at the same time sweet and determined Desdemona (Joana Fartaria), that assumes her passion and her demise almost without a fuss. The line that can be seen as a feminist pamphlet belongs to Emilia, Iago’s wife and Desdemona confider (Teresa Gafeira showing in her role a beautiful creativity). (…) Iago is the most complex character. (…) The stage work of Luís Vicente, ACTA’s director, who played this same role in 1993, skilfully expresses to the audience an ambiguous empathy with the character, exposing his arguments with such a finesse that would entitle him to be cunning and defamatory. He completely sets in confrontation the two worlds portrayed by Desdemona and Othello.’
Le Monde Diplomatique, 01/01/06