Lara Foot adds an African perspective to Shakespeare's 'Othello'

Carla Smith and Atandwa Kani in Lara Foot's adaptation of 'Othello.' Picture: Instagram.

Carla Smith and Atandwa Kani in Lara Foot's adaptation of 'Othello.' Picture: Instagram.

Published Apr 3, 2024


The South African premiere of Lara Foot's adaptation of William Shakespeare's timeless tragedy, “Othello“, is set to premiere in The Mother City this weekend.

Presented by the Baxter Theatre, the production features a stellar creative team and cast and it promises to offer a fresh and culturally resonant interpretation of the classic play.

Foot, a respected South African theatre figure, aims to infuse an African perspective into the original play.

For this reason, the local rendition will be performed in English, isiXhosa, and Afrikaans as it seeks to reflect the country’s rich diversity.

The playwright also aims to add more than just linguistical elements to the classic Shakespearean tale as she also relocates the play’s narrative to significant historical periods.

This includes the era of German colonialism, including the Herero uprising in German Southwest Africa, which is present-day Namibia.

This bold re-imagining seeks to explore Othello's inner life within the context of African history and culture.

"I wanted to add an African perspective to Shakespeare's masterpiece and by staging the play in multiple languages and shifting its setting to various points in African history, we hope to offer audiences a deeper understanding of the themes and characters," Foot explained.

The production also features a special event with Dame Janet Suzman set to engage in a conversation with Shakespeare specialist, Professor Chris Thurman, next week.

The South African-British actress's illustrious career began with landmark performances in London.

Her impressive contributions to the theatre world saw her being honoured with a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE).

Reflecting on her lifelong connection with Shakespeare's works, Suzman added: "Shakespeare's characters are so vivid, complex and so funny that they seem truly human."

Suzman and Thurman’s talk will take place at The Baxter on April 13 at 5.30 pm. Tickets are R100 and are available through Webtickets or at Pick n Pay stores.

The theatre is also excited for "Othello" to come alive on stage, where centuries-old themes of love, jealousy and betrayal are set to resonate in a distinctly African context.

Where: The Pam Golding Theatre at The Baxter.

When: April 6, at 2pm and April 8 - 30, at 7.30pm.

Cost: Tickets are priced between R200 - R290 and can be purchased from Webtickets.

Comedian Kurt Schoonraad presents "Living with a German" at The Playhouse Theatre. Picture: INSTAGRAM

“Living with the German”

Comedian Kurt Schoonraad’s latest offering is set to explore cultural differences as it seeks to remind the audience that all humans have something in common.

And while the world argues over right and wrong, Schoonraad celebrates diversity.

Despite different skin tones, languages, passports and even opinions on appropriate footwear, “Living with the German” will unpack the universal truths that connect humanity.

With this show, the comedian is determined to remind his audiences of the joy that can found in embracing our differences.

At the heart of Schoonraad's performance is his personal viewpoint and relatable comedic style, making his show accessible and appealing to audiences of all backgrounds.

Through his humour, he invites people to reflect on their own cultural exchange experiences and to find humour in the quirks and idiosyncrasies that make life interesting.

Where: The Playhouse Theatre in Somerset West.

When: Friday, April 5, at 7pm.

Cost: Tickets are priced at R180 and can be purchased from Webtickets.

Athol Fugard's renowned play, "My Children! My Africa!", crafted in 1989, unfolds a poignant tale that reflects the raw reality of a nation teetering on the edge of transformation. Picture: INSTAGRAM

“My Children! My Africa!”

In an Eastern Cape classroom back in 1984, a dedicated teacher attempts to inspire a love for learning in a talented student.

But as political unrest and generational differences escalate, their relationship turns into a tragic conflict that has heartbreaking consequences.

This is the premise of Athol Fugard's renowned play, "My Children! My Africa!", which was crafted in 1989.

This poignant tale reflects on the raw reality of a nation teetering on the edge of transformation.

Fugard's masterpiece serves as a vivid ode to the vitality of youth, the transformative power of education and the enduring strength of hope and innovation.

Through the lens of this modern classic, audiences are transported into a world where ideals clash and the repercussions reverberate deeply.

Where: The Artscape Theatre in Foreshore.

When: Thursday, April 4, at 2pm and April 5, 8, 9, 12, 15, 16 and 19 at 11pm. There will also be performances on April 10, 11, 17 and 18 April at both 11pm and 2pm.

Cost: Tickets are priced at R80 and can be purchased from Webtickets.