Sarah Bernhardt Becomes the First Woman to Play Hamlet (1899)

At one time, the name Sarah Bernhardt was synonymous with melodramatic self-presentation. In her heyday, the actress created a category all her own—impossible to judge by the usual standards of the dramatic arts. Or as Mark Twain put it, “there are five kinds of actresses: bad actresses, fair actresses, good actresses, great actresses—and then there is Sarah Bernhardt.”

Admired and beloved by Victor Hugo and playwright Edmond Rostand, who called her “the queen of the pose and the princess of the gesture,” Bernhardt commanded attention in every role, and became infamous as “a canny self-promoter,” as Hannah Manktelow writes. Bernhardt “cultivated her image as a mysterious, exotic outsider. She claimed to sleep in a coffin and encouraged the circulation of outlandish rumors about her eccentric behavior.”




Bernhardt’s worldwide fame rested not only on her public relations skill, but also on her willingness to take dramatic risks most actresses of the time would never dare. In one notable example, she played Hamlet in 1899, at age 55, in a French adaptation of Shakespeare’s play. What’s more, she boldly undertook the role in London, then again in Stratford at the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre. Finally, she became the first woman to portray Hamlet on film (see a short clip above).

Reactions to her stage performance by contemporaries were mixed. In her review, actress and writer Elizabeth Robins praised Bernhardt’s “amazing skill” in playing “a spirited boy… with impetuosity, a youthfulness, almost childish.” But Robins issued a qualification at the outset: “for a woman to play at being a man is, surely, a tremendous handicap,” she writes, a criticism echoed by English essayist Max Beerbohm, who went so far as to deny women the power to create art.

“Creative power,” wrote Beerbohm, “the power to conceive ideas and execute them, is an attribute of virility; women are denied it, in so far as they practice art at all, they are aping virility, exceeding their natural sphere. Never does one understand so well the failure of women in art as when one sees them deliberately impersonating men upon the stage.” Setting Beerbohm’s categorically sexist assertions aside (for the moment), we must mark the irony that both he and Robins are troubled by a woman playing a man, given that all of Shakespeare’s female characters were once played by men, a fact both critics somehow fail to mention.

Where Beerbohm saw in Bernhardt’s performance a mere “aping of virility,” Robins, unhampered by Beerbohm's ugly misogyny, observed the great actress in vivid detail, in an essay that brings Bernhardt’s Hamlet to life with descriptions of her, for example, “appealing dumbly for another sign” after seeing her father’s ghost (on painted gauze), “and passing pathetic fluttering hands over the unresponsive surface, groping piteously like a child in the dark.”

The pathos of Bernhardt’s performance was undercut, Robins felt, by some clumsy moments, such as her  mistreatment of poor Yorick’s skull. (A real human skull, by the way, given to her by Victor Hugo). “It was not pleasant,” writes Robins, “to see the grinning object handled so callously…. Indeed, I feel sure that Madame Bernhardt treats her lap-dog more considerately.” On the whole, however, Robins felt the performance a truly dramatic achievement through Bernhardt’s “mastery of sheer poise… of sparing, clean-cut gesture… the effect that the artist in her wanted to produce.”

Further up, see an ink drawing of Bernhardt as Hamlet by Reginal Cleaver and, just above, an 1899 postcard photograph (with Hugo’s gifted skull). Read more about Bernhardt’s performance, and the attendant publicity, at the Shakespeare Blog, and learn about a new play based on Bernhardt’s Hamlet called “The Divine Sarah” at the Folger Shakespeare Library’s Shakespeare & Beyond.

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When Ira Aldridge Became the First Black Actor to Perform Shakespeare in England (1824)

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Washington, DC. Follow him at @jdmagness

Take a Virtual Tour of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London

The story of the Globe Theatre, the ancestral home of Shakespeare’s plays, is itself very Shakespearean, in all of the ways we use that adjective: it has deep roots in English history, a tragic backstory, and represents all of the hodgepodge of London, in the early 17th century and today, with the city’s colorful street life, mingling of international cultures, high and low, and its delight in the play and interplay of languages.

“The first public playhouses,” notes the British Library, “were built in London in the late 1500s. Theatres were not permitted within the boundaries of the City itself”—theater not being considered a respectable art—”but were tolerated in the outer districts of London, such as Southwark, where the Globe was located. Southwark was notorious for its noisy, chaotic entertainments and for its sleazy low-life: its theatres, brothels, bear baiting pits, pickpockets and the like.”




The Globe began its life in 1599, in a story that “might be worthy,” writes the Shakespeare Resource Center, “of a Shakespearean play of its own.” Built from the timbers of the city’s first permanent theater, the Burbage, which opened in 1576, the Globe burned down in 1613 “when a cannon shot during a performance of Henry VIII ignited the thatched roof in the gallery.” Within the year, it was rebuilt on the same foundations (with a tiled roof) and operated until the Puritans shut it down in 1642, demolishing the famed open-air theater two years later.

In a twist to this so far very English tale, it took the tireless efforts of an expatriate American, actor-director Sam Wanamaker, to bring the Globe back to London. After more than two decades of advocacy, Wanamaker’s Globe Playhouse Trust succeeded in recreating the Globe, just a short distance from the original location. Opening in 1997, three-hundred and fifty-five years after the first Globe closed, the new Globe Theatre recreated all of the original's architectural elements.

The stage projects into the circular courtyard, designed for standing spectators and surrounded by three tiers of seats. While the stage itself has an elaborate painted roof, and the seating is protected from the weather by the only thatched roof in London since the 1666 Great Fire, the theater’s courtyard is open to the sky. However, where the original Globe held about 2,000 standing and 1,000 seated playgoers, the recreation, notes TimeOut London, holds only about half that number.

Still, theater-goers can “get a rich feel for what it was like to be a ‘groundling’ (the standing rabble at the front of the stage) in the circular, open-air theatre.” Short of that, we can tour the Globe in the virtual recreation at the top of the post. Move around in any direction and look up at the sky. As you do, click on the tiny circles to reveal facts such as “Probably the first Shakespeare play to be performed at the Globe was Julius Caesar, in 1599,” and videos like Mark Antony’s famous “friends, Romans, countrymen” speech, performed at the Globe, above.

If you don't have the luxury of visiting the new Globe, taking a tour, or seeing a performance lovingly-recreated with all of the costuming (and even pronunciation) from Jacobean England, you can get the flavor of this wondrous achievement in bringing cultural history into the present with the virtual tour, also available as an app for iPhone and iPad users. This interactive tour supersedes a previous version we featured a few years back.

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

Eleven Rules for Writing from Eight Contemporary Playwrights 

Chances are most of us won’t be immediately familiar with the eight mostly British playwrights reflecting on their process in the National Theatre’s video, above.

That’s a good thing.

It's easier to choose which pieces of inspiring, occasionally conflicting writing advice to follow when the scale's not weighted down by the thumb of celebrity.

(Though rest assured that there’s no shortage of people who do know their work, if the National Theater is placing them in the hot seat.)




It’s impossible to follow all of their suggestions on any given project, so go with your gut.

Or try your hand at one that doesn’t come naturally, especially if you’ve been feeling stuck.

These approaches are equally valid for those writing fiction, and possibly even certain types of poetry and song.

The National wins points for assembling a diverse group—there are four women and four men, three of whom are people of color.

Within this crew, it’s the women who overwhelmingly bring up the notions of permission and perfection, as in it’s okay to let your first draft be absolutely dreadful.

Most of the males are prone to plotting things out in advance.

And no one seems entirely at home marooned against a seamless white background on a plain wooden stool.

Jewish identity, school shootings, immigration, race, climate change, and homophobia are just some of the topics they have considered in their plays.

Some have worked in film and TV, adapted the classics, or written for young audiences.

They have won prestigious awards, seen their plays staged ‘round the globe, and had success with other artistic pursuits, including poetry, performance, and dance.

Clearly, you'll find some great advice below, though it's not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Let us know in the comments which rules you personally consider worth following.

Eleven Rules for Writing from Eight Contemporary Playwrights

1. Start

or

2. Don’t start. Let your idea marinate for a minimum of six months, then start.

3.. Have some sort of outline or plan before you start

4. Do some research

5. Don’t be judgmental of your writing while you’re writing

6. Embrace the terrible first draft 

7. Don’t show anyone your first draft, unless you want to.

8. Know how it’s going to end

or

9. Don’t know how it’s going end

10. Work with others

11. Print it, and read it like someone experiencing it for the first time. No editing aloud. Get that pen out of your hand.

And now, it’s time to discover the work of the participating playwrights. Go see a show, or at least read about one in the links:

In-Sook Chappell

Ryan Craig

Suhayla El-Bushra

Inua Ellams

Lucy Kirkwood

Evan Placey

Tanya Ronder

Simon Stephens

The National Theatre has several fascinating playlists devoted to playwriting. Find them here.

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Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, theater maker and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine.  Join her in NYC on Wednesday, May 16 for another monthly installment of her book-based variety show, Necromancers of the Public Domain. Follow her @AyunHalliday.

Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical Debuted on Broadway 50 Years Ago: Watch Footage of the Cast Performing in 1968

As years go, 1968 is packed with notable events.

The Tet Offensive and the Apollo 8 mission to the moon.

The assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy.

The first 747 took to the skies. Star Trek showed television’s first interracial kiss.

And Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical, which debuted downtown hard on the heels of the Summer of Love, reopened on Broadway.




New York Times critic Clive Barnes—a fan—caved to pressure from anxious preview audience members, who wanted him to warn prospective ticket buyers what they were in for. Tongue firmly in cheek, he complied within the body of a rave review:

A great many four letter words such as “love”

A number of men and women (I should have counted)… totally nude

Frequent approving references… to the expanding benefits of drugs

Homosexuality

Miscegenation

Flowers

Then, as now, a growing youth movement occupied the American public’s imagination.

If 2018’s Broadway producers are willing to take a risk on a musical that’s not adapted from a popular movie, we may well be entering ticket lotteries for Gonzalez! sometime in the very near future.

Back then, young people were in revolt against the Vietnam War and the values their parents held dear.

The original versions, both on and off Broadway, featured two of the show’s three authors, Gerome Ragni and James Rado, as antiheroes Berger and Claude. (Galt MacDermot wrote the music.)

While other cast members emerged from New York’s hippie scene, Ragni and Rado’s backgrounds were somewhat lacking in patchouli. Rado was an aspirant composer of traditional Broadway musicals. Ragni, as a member of The Open Theater, was a bit more tuned in, theatrically speaking.

As Rado recalled in an interview:

There was so much excitement in the streets and the parks and the hippie areas, and we thought if we could transmit this excitement to the stage it would be wonderful. ... We hung out with them and went to their Be-Ins (and) let our hair grow.

Barnes wryly noted in his review that “these hard-working and talented actors are in reality about as hippie as Mayor Lindsay.”

But there’s nothing too wig-like about the hair swinging around in the above footage—from the Grammys, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, and the 1969 Tony Awards where the cast was introduced by Harry Belafonte. There’s a spontaneity seldom seen in big budget musicals these days, though with a national tour hitting the road and dozens of 50th anniversary productions popping up across the country, we may be in for a redux.

To learn more about Hair’s role in theater history—including understudy Diane Keaton’s refusal to get naked and a page from the Times’ theater listings showing what else was playing at the time—read The Bowery Boys photo-packed 50th anniversary salute.

Sing along with the original Off-Broadway cast below.

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Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, theater maker and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine.  Join her in NYC on Wednesday, May 16 for another monthly installment of her book-based variety show, Necromancers of the Public Domain. Follow her @AyunHalliday.

See The Iliad Performed as a One-Woman Show in a Montreal Bar by McGill University Classics Professor Lynn Kozak

Homer’s Iliad staged as a one-woman show? IN A BAR! It's an outrage. A desecration of a founding work of Western Civilization™. A sure sign of cultural decline.

But wait…. What if McGill University classics professor Lynn Kozak’s performance returns the epic Greek poem to its origins, as a dramatic oral presentation for small audiences who were, quite possibly, inebriated, or at least a little tipsy? Kozak’s Previously on… The Iliad, described as “Happy Hour Homer,” presents its intimate audience with “a new, partially improvised English translation of a bit of The Iliad, all the way through the epic.”




The performances take place every Monday at 6 at Montreal’s Bar des Pins. Like the story itself, Kozak begins in medias res—in the middle, that is, of a chattering crowd of students, who quiet down right away and give the story their full attention.

Ancient Greek poetry was performed, not studied in scholarly editions in academic departments. It was sung, with musical accompaniment, and probably adapted, improvised, and embellished by ancient bards to suit their audiences. Granted, Kozak doesn’t sing (though some performances involve music); she recites in a manner both casual and dramatically gripping. She reminds us that the stories we find in the text are distant kin to the bloody serialized TV soap operas that occupy so much of our day-to-day conversation, at home, on social media, and at happy hour.

The liberties Kozak takes recreate the poem in the present as a living work. This is classics education at its most engaging and accessible. Like any poetic performer, Kozak knows her audience. The Iliad  is a lot like Game of Thrones, “because of the number of characters that you have to keep up with,” Kozak tells the CBC’s As It Happens, “and also because of the fact that there’s not always clean-cut kind of villains or who you’re supposed to be rooting for in any major scene—especially in battle scenes.”

The performance of the “anger of Achilles” (top, with beer pong) conveys the moral complexity of the Greek hero. “He must be brutal and ready to risk brutality,” as UNC professor of philosophy CDC Reeve writes. “At the same time, he must be gentle to his friends and allies, and able to join with them in group activities both military and peaceful.” Is Achilles a tool of the gods or a man driven to extremes by rage? Homer suggests both, but the action is set in motion by divine agency. “Apollo was pissed at King Agamemnon,” Kozak paraphrases, then summarizes the nature of the insult and checks in with the young listeners: “everyone still with me?”

The story of The Iliad, many scholars believe, existed as an oral performance for perhaps 1,000 years before it was committed to writing by the scribe or scribes identified as Homer. But the poem “isn’t really a theatre piece,” says Kozak, despite its musical nature. “It’s really a story. It’s really a one-person show. And for me it’s just important to be in a place that’s casual and where I’m with the audience.” It’s doubtful that the poem was performed in its entirely in one sitting, though the notion of “serialization” as we know it from 19th century novels and modern-day television shows was not part of the culture of antiquity.

“We’re not really sure how The Iliad was broken up originally,” Kozak admits. Adapting the poem to contemporary audience sensibilities has meant “thinking about where or if episodes exist in the epic,” in the way of Game of Thrones. Each performance is styled differently, with Kozak holding court as various characters. “Sometimes there are cliffhangers. Sometimes they have resolutions. It’s been an interesting mix so far.” That “so far” extends on YouTube from Week 1 (Book 1, lines 1-487) to Week 14 (Book 11, line 461 to Book 12, line 205). Check back each week for new “episodes” to come online, and watch Weeks One through Four above and the other ten at the Previously on… The Iliad YouTube channel.

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

The 1,700+ Words Invented by Shakespeare*

One of the favorite reference books on my shelves isn’t a style guide or dictionary but a collection of insults. And not just any collection of insults, but Shakespeare’s Insults for Teachers, an illustrated guide through the playwright’s barbs and put-downs, designed to offer comic relief to the beleaguered educator. (Books and websites about Shakespeare’s insults almost constitute a genre in themselves.) I refer to this slim, humorous hardback every time discussions of Shakespeare get too ponderous, to remind myself at a glance that what readers and audiences have always valued in his work is its lightning-fast wit and inventiveness.

While perusing any curated selection of Shakespeare’s insults, one can’t help but notice that, amidst the puns and bawdy references to body parts, so many of his wisecracks are about language itself—about certain characters’ lack of clarity or odd ways of speaking. From Much Ado About Nothing there’s the colorful, “His words are a very fantastical banquet, just so many strange dishes.” From The Merchant of Venice, the sarcastic, “Goodly Lord, what a wit-snapper you are!” From Troilus and Cressida, the derisive, “There’s a stewed phrase indeed!” And from Hamlet the subtle shade of “This is the very coinage of your brain.”




Indeed, it can often seem that Shakespeare—if we grant his historicity and authorship—is often writing self-deprecating notes about himself. “It is often said,” writes Fraser McAlpine at BBC America, that Shakespeare “invented a lot of what we currently call the English language…. Something like 1700 [words], all told,” which would mean that “out of every ten words," in his plays, "one will either have been new to his audience, new to his actors, or will have been passingly familiar, but never written down before.” It's no wonder so much of his dialogue seems to carry on a meta-commentary about the strangeness of its language.

We have enough trouble understanding Shakespeare today. The question McAlpine asks is how his contemporary audiences could understand him, given that so much of his diction was “the very coinage” of his brain. Lists of words first used by Shakespeare can be found aplently. There’s this catalog from the exhaustive multi-volume literary reference The Oxford English Dictionary, which lists such now-everyday words as “accessible,” “accommodation,” and “addiction” as making their first appearance in the plays. These “were not all invented by Shakespeare,” the list disclaims, “but the earliest citations for them in the OED” are from his work, meaning that the dictionary’s editors could find no earlier appearance in historical written sources in English.

Another shorter list links to an excerpt from Charles and Mary Cowden Clarke’s The Shakespeare Key, showing how the author, “with the right and might of a true poet… minted several words” that are now current, or “deserve” to be, such as the verb “articulate,” which we do use, and the noun “co-mart”—meaning “joint bargains”—which we could and maybe should. At ELLO, or English Language and Linguistics Online, we find a short tutorial on how Shakespeare formed new words, by borrowing them from other languages, or adapting them from other parts of speech, turning verbs into nouns, for example, or vice versa, and adding new endings to existing words.

“Whether you are ‘fashionable’ or ‘sanctimonious,’” writes National Geographic, “thank Shakespeare, who likely coined the terms.” He also apparently invented several phrases we now use in common speech, like “full circle,” “one fell swoop,” “strange bedfellows,” and “method in the madness.” (In another BBC America article, McAlpine lists 45 such phrases.) The online sources for Shakespeare’s original vocabulary are multitude, but we should note that many of them do not meet scholarly standards. As linguists and Shakespeare experts David and Ben Crystal write in Shakespeare’s Words, “we found very little that might be classed as ‘high-quality Shakespearean lexicography’” online.

So, there are reasons to be skeptical about claims that Shakespeare is responsible for the 1700 or more words for which he’s given sole credit. (Hence the asterisk in our title.) As noted, a great many of those words already existed in different forms, and many of them may have existed as non-literary colloquialisms before he raised their profile to the Elizabethan stage. Nonetheless, it is certainly the case that the Bard coined or first used hundreds of words, writes McAlpine, "with no obvious precedent to the listener, unless you were schooled in Latin or Greek.” The question, then, remains: “what on Earth did Shakespeare’s [mostly] uneducated audience make of this influx of newly-minted language into their entertainment?”

McAlpine brings those potentially stupefied Elizabethans into the present by comparing watching a Shakespeare play to watching “a three-hour long, open air rap battle. One in which you have no idea what any of the slang means.” A good deal would go over your head, “you’d maybe get the gist, but not the full impact,” but all the same, “it would all seem terribly important and dramatic.” (Costuming, props, and staging, of course, helped a lot, and still do.) The analogy works not only because of the amount of slang deployed in the plays, but also because of the intensity and regularity of the boasts and put-downs, which makes even more interesting one data scientist’s attempt to compare Shakespeare’s vocabulary with that of modern rappers, whose language is, just as often, the very coinage of their brains.

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness.

When Ira Aldridge Became the First Black Actor to Perform Shakespeare in England (1824)

The ways that Othello, Aaron the Moor from Titus Andronicus, and Shylock from The Merchant of Venice—Shakespeare’s “explicitly racialized characters,” as George Washington University’s Ayanna Thompson puts it—have been interpreted over the centuries may have less to do with the author’s intentions and more with contemporary ideas about race, the actors cast in the roles, and the directorial choices made in a production. To a great degree, these characters have been played as though their identities were like the costumes put on by actors who darkened their faces or wore stereotypical markers of ethnic or religious Judaism (including “an obnoxiously large nose”).

Such portrayals risk turning complex characters into caricatures, validating much of what we might see as overt and implicit racism in the text. But there are those, Thompson says, who think such roles are actually “about racial impersonation.” Othello, for example, is “a role written by a white man, intended for a white actor in black makeup.”




For centuries, that is what most audiences fully expected to see. The tradition continued in Britain until the 19th century, when the Shakespearean color line, so to speak, was first crossed by Ira Aldridge, an American actor born in New York City in 1807.

"Educated at the African Free School,” notes the Folger Shakespeare Library, Aldridge "was able to see Shakespeare plays at the Park Theatre and the African Grove Theatre.” He took on roles like Romeo with the African Company, but “New York was generally not a welcoming place for black actors… some white theatergoers even attempted to prevent black companies from performing Shakespeare at all.” As Tony Howard, an English professor at the University of Warwick, tells PRI, “he was beaten up in the streets.” And so Aldridge left for England in 1824, where he played Othello at the Theatre Royal, Covent-Garden, at only 17 years old, the first black actor to play a Shakespearean role in Britain.

He later began performing under the name Keene, “a homonym,” notes the site Black History 365, “for the then popular British actor, Edmund Kean.” Aldridge’s big break came after he met Kean and his son Charles, also an actor, in 1831, and both became supporters of his career. When the elder Kean collapsed onstage in 1833, then died, Aldridge took over his role as Othello at London's Royalty Theatre in two performances. “Critics objected,” the Folger writes, “to his race, his youth, and his inexperience.” As Howard tells it, this characterization is a gross understatement:

There were those who said this is a very interesting and extraordinary young actor. And the fact that he's a black actor makes it more interesting and fascinating. But for many people, it was an insult because this is still a society where there is a great deal of slavery in the British Empire. And in order to combat the idea of increasing abolition, performers like Ira had to be stopped. And so there was a great deal of violent aggression. Not physical violence this time, but violence in the press.

Some of that verbal violence included comparing Aldridge to “performing horses” and “performing dogs.” Many London critics saw his entry on the Shakespearean stage as an affront to English literary tradition. Performing the bard’s works was “a kind of violation,” Howard summarizes, “he has no right to do that, not even to play Othello.”

Photo via the Folger Library

From his beginnings in Coventry to his experience in London, Aldridge made the once-blackface role his own, perhaps increasingly drawing “on his own experience and his own feeling.” He also portrayed Aaron in Titus, and as he persevered through negative press and prejudice, he took on other starring roles, including Richard III, Shylock, Iago, King Lear, and Macbeth. He “toured the English provinces extensively,” the BBC writes, “and stayed in Coventry for a few months, during which time he gave a number of speeches on the evils of slavery. When he left, people inspired by his speeches went to the county hall and petitioned for its abolition.”

By the end of the 1840s, however, Aldridge felt he had gone as far as he could go in England and left to tour the Continent in what had become his signature role, Othello. While first touring with an English company, he “later began to work with local theater troupes,” the Folger writes, “performing in English while the rest of the cast would perform in German, Swedish, etc. Despite the language barrier, Aldridge’s performances in Europe were highly acclaimed, a testament to his acting skills.” (See a playbill further up from a Bonn performance.) After winning great fame in Europe and Russia, the actor returned in triumph to London in 1855, and this time was very well-received.

Aldridge died in 1867. And though he was the subject of many portraits of the period—like that by James Northcote at the top of the post, portraying the 19-year-old Aldridge as Othello, and this 1830 painting by Henry Perronet Briggs—he was “largely forgotten by theater historians.” (See him above in an 1858 drawing by Ukranian artist Taras Shevchenko.) But his legacy has been revived in recent years. Aldridge was the subject of two recent plays, Black Othello, by Cecilia Sidenbladh, and Red Velvet by Lolita Chakrabarti. And last year, he was honored in Coventry by a plaque on the site of the theater where he first achieved fame.

While he succeeded in becoming an all-around great Shakespearean actor, Aldridge’s legacy rests especially in the way he helped transform roles performed as “racial impersonation” for a few hundred years into the provenance of talented black actors who bring new depth, complexity, and authenticity to characters often played as stock ethnic villains. While white actors like Orson Welles and Lawrence Olivier continued to play Othello well into the 20th century, these days such casting can be seen as "ridiculous," as Hugh Muir writes at The Guardian, especially if that actor "blacks up" for the role.

via the British Library

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

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