Attending the theatre in the UK, whether it’s in the West End, or nearby in one of many institutions such as The Old Vic, Barbican Centre or The National Theatre, is an experience hard to replicate elsewhere.
The combination of the playwrights, the career performers, often schooled in some of the finest drama institutions in the world, coupled with relatively affordable entry fees, usually intimate venues and a sophisticated audience,
For the casual theatre goer, it’s quite an experience. For the regular, it’s a way of life. It’s like how sports fans feel at home watching their team or their favorite sport, or how music lovers are thrilled to see the tracks they know by heart performed live.
You know the people beside you, you greet them when you arrive, and chat during the intervals, You give your own personal review, and make references to previous performances.
This week Dubai Opera staged a play for the very first time
Dubai has many theatres and shown drama for years. But Dubai Opera hadn’t yet put on a play.
When word travelled that a new contemporary version of Othello was making an impression in London’s Westend, the CEO of Dubai Opera made a trip to Bristol to watch the performance himself.
Suitably impressed, he quickly put the wheels in motion to bring the play to Dubai Opera, where it showed twice on the 30th and 31st of January, and was extended for two more nights, 1st and 2nd of February.
Many of the performances at Dubai Opera have required much more complicated stage sets and logistics than Othello, however, debuting Shakespeare’s famous love tragedy was still a venture into the unknown.
“Venice; a western colonial power employs the newly-married Othello, a Muslim general, to lead their army against the impending Turkish invasion. In a society torn apart by discrimination and fear, Othello’s life quickly unravels. Manipulated by Iago, he turns on everything he holds dear.
Following a critically acclaimed tour and London run, Richard Twyman’s vital production of Othello is brought to the stage by UK Theatre Award winners English Touring Theatre in a co-production with Oxford Playhouse and Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory.”
What has been special about this performance, (one more show to take place tonight at the time of writing), is that it felt like this was a perfect stage for such a play.
All the character that comes with wonderful theater’s in London was on display. The crowd were a mix of old Dubai, those who have been part of the city’s development, all very much acquainted, and dressing up for the occasion, fused with this wonderful youthful performance.
It’s nights and shows like this that are part of Dubai Opera’s coming of age.
This is a modern take on Othello, with the youthful performance wearing contemporary costumes. It’s not the first time Shakespeare’s work is given a up-to date makeover, some of those in movie format such as Romeo & Juliette staring Leoando Di Capprio and Kate Winslet.
Judging by the reviews this performance has received, and how it has now travelled to Dubai Opera, it will regarded on par with successful attempts to bring Shakespeare work into the present day.