Alison Bomber, (above) the voice and text coach for the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon in England, calls her chance to spend winter quarter at Ohio State "happy serendipity." She is in residence in the Department of Theatre, where she's directing nine MFA graduate acting students in a production of Shakespeare's Othello, which opened Feb 10. Her residency is part of the larger partnership between Ohio State and the RSC. "I decided to seize the opportunity," she says. "It fit in well with my schedule at the RSC, and I already had a strong relationship with the MFA actors from their work with the RSC last summer. This was the perfect opportunity for me to stretch my directing muscles."
The MFA actors have created an ensemble performance for Othello, which runs through Feb 26. Bomber describes the play as very passionate, dealing with issues of race, of sexual jealousy, of high passion. "It's the madness of love and how close love is to hate," she says.
Working with the OSU students has been a joy, adds Bomber. "The MFAs are great, there is such a generosity among them in the rehearsal room," she says. "They have a strong relationship and a strong respect for each other's work. I'm pushing them in new directions, and they're fantastically open to that. It's a playful, joyous, creative room."
Othello is being presented in the Roy Bowen Theatre, Drake Performance and Event Center. In addition, several matinees are being performed for high school students. And what might those young people expect?
"I really hope they'll come and enjoy the play. It's a cracking good story!" Bomber says. "I hope they'll say they can't believe Shakespeare could be so much fun, so exciting, so dramatic."
(Photo above, Moopi Mothibeli as Othello, and Charlesanne Rabensburg as Desdemona. Below, Mothibeli with Kevin McClatchey as Iago.)
The Department of Theatre's production of Othello and the RSC's Alison Bomber, guest director, have been garnering a good deal of coverage lately in the media, including a Columbus Dispatch Sunday Arts article, an OnCampus story, and an Artzine video feature.
On Monday morning (Feb 14) (left to right) teacher Amy McKibben, MFA actor Moopi Mothibeli and Alison Bomber were guests on the WOSU radio program All Sides with Ann Fisher (far right). They were joined by RSC education director Jacqui O'Hanlon by phone. The program is rebroadcast the same evening at 8 pm on 89.7 FM and can also be heard on the WOSU website.