blackness within the white imaginary but also, by dreaming the death of “woman, ” for re-enclosing women's voices and bodies within a male imaginary which sanctions its own destructive desires. At a moment when the law itself has become a theatrical commodity, that dream is more than a transhistorical literary trope. If Lodovico's “Let it be hid” seems symptomatic of a refusal to address domestic violence shared by early modern and late twentieth-century cultures, there is a radical difference between the image of Nicole's battered, bloody body-too sensational to be viewed by eyes other than those in the courtroom-and the serene, alabaster-like Desdemona, safely confined within the boundaries of a discrete, authoritatively Shakespearean tragedy. Or at least one would like to think so.
Read by his friend Robert Kardashian at a 17 June news conference, Simpson's letter circulated widely in print and television news, in the tabloids and on the Internet.
My thanks to Jonathan Shectman for calling my attention to this “joke.”
Although I refer to both Othellos as “films, ” a more accurate label is “video text, ” for both use video technology and both were screened on Britain's Channel 4-Suzman's in January 1989, Nunn's in late spring 1990. Throughout, my descriptions and analyses are based on these video texts, but once I turn to the discourses surrounding them, I rely on reviews of the stage productions. I ask readers to accept this discrepancy for several reasons. For one, both video texts represent records of theatrical performances; for another, the only commentary on the videos falls into the category of “puff” pieces. See, for example, (on Suzman) Lennon; and (on Nunn) Gore-Langton and Conrad.
Elizabeth's warrant is quoted in Cowhig 1985:6.
See, for instance, Wister 1895, Casson 1907, and Matthews 1989. My thanks to Richard Abel for calling these texts to my attention and for commenting on drafts of this essay.
On femininity as performance, see Butler 1990, esp. 128-41.
And in any number of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century burlesques of Othello. See Wells, Nineteenth-century Burlesques.
One of Kani's brothers was sentenced to prison in 1962 for furthering the aims of the outlawed National Congress; another, Xolile, was killed (at the age of twenty-six) during the 1985 riots (see Battersby 1987).
For a dramatization of this issue, see Fugard 1986.
Terreblanche is the leader of the Afrikaner Resistance Movement (ARM), engaged in terrorism against blacks. Ninety percent of the audience for Suzman's production had never seen the play before; for the first time, Market's black audience “jumped from the usual 10% or 15% for a European classic, to double and treble that number” (Suzman 1988b:95).
Speculating on why black audiences came to see Othello, Suzman writes: “they enjoyed it because they had seen nothing like it before in their lives…. They enjoyed it because the black guy gets to be in charge of his own death at the end, and because the white guy gets found out” (private communication).
The only other cinematic “trick” occurs in the temptation scene, where Kani's look off left frame keys two inset shots, one of Desdemona and Cassio kissing, another of the two parting. Both are moments he (and spectators) have seen before; repeating
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: Shakespeare, the Movie: Popularizing the Plays on Film, TV, and Video.
Contributors: Lynda E. Boose - Editor, Richard Burt - Editor.
Place of publication: London.
Publication year: 1997.
Page number: 41.
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