Your Bard: Bindiya on Barrie Rutter’s Othello

BindiyaBindiya is 24 years old. She works as an Assistant Validation Officer in the Houses of Parliament. She loves the television channel Dave, Alan Rickman, and libraries.

What did you make of Lenny Henry’s Othello?

Lenny lets the Bard’s words do the talking. He does not attempt to bring something new to the character or try to copyright him as “Lenny’s Othello”. His gift is his timing, his unbelievably fluent yet emotional delivery of the script, and his infrequent but excellently-judged interaction with the audience.


The actor Hugh Quarshie believes that if a black actor were to play Othello it would conform to a negative racial stereotype. What is your opinion?

There is no need for a black man to play a black tragic hero and feel somehow pigeon-holed by it. Othello knows his biggest hurdle is that he is a noble black man in a white society, but he overcomes that through his nobility, prowess and unquestionable leadership. The key is how much an actor can distance himself from the prejudice.


Who would the play appeal to?

Anyone interested in the play and in Shakespeare. I got chatting to a lady at the play and she told me her sons enjoyed it immensely. The 12 year old son had asked “how did they change the language so that we could understand what they were saying?”, and was amazed to find that they hadn’t and that he had understood it word for word.


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