The University of Cambridge now has trial access to the Shakespeare in Performance resource until 10 November 2016.
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Shakespeare in Performance goes behind the scenes to shine a light on how Shakespeare’s plays have been interpreted by theatre companies, actors and directors across the centuries.
The resource features prompt books from the world-famous collection at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington DC. These prompt books tell the story of Shakespeare’s plays as they were performed in theatres throughout Great Britain, the United States and internationally, between the seventeenth and twentieth centuries.
Scene from Othello withPaul Robeson:
It took more than a decade after his London performance before Robeson played Othello in the United States in a production directed by Margaret Webster for the Theatre Guild that opened at New York’s Shubert Theatre in 1943. Robeson was the first black actor ever seen as Othello in a major production of the play on a US stage. The production opened to almost ecstatic reviews. According to one critic, Robeson was a majestic presence and made Othello “the great and terrible figure of tragedy which he has so rarely been on the stage.” The production ran for nearly a year, making it at the time the longest running Broadway production of Shakespeare. During the 1944/45 season, it went on tour and became a phenomenon seen by practically half a million people. Along with Robeson, the cast included the husband and wife team of Uta Hagen as Desdemona and José Ferrer as a nimbly evil Iago. The excellent cast and outstanding direction were complemented by the costumes of Robert Edmond Jones, who was one of Broadway’s most acclaimed designers. His expressionistic style was marked by the simplicity of form seen in the striking design for Othello’s robe.