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A Shakespearean Stage History The Tragedy of Othello the Moore of Venice Considered by many to be Shakespeares greatest tragedy Othello the Moore of Venice was first recorded as having been performed in 1604 It was probably written not long before that although the text of the play was not published until eighteen years later in 1622 in the First Quarto Although nearly 400 years have passed since the first production of Othello there have not been many drastic changes in the way of staging Directors actors and critics over the years have seemed to agree that the focus of the stage play lies with the actors mainly those who play Othello and Iago and not in the scenery or in the technical aspects Reviews and written records of the play from the 1600s to the early 1900s seem to focus almost exclusively on the actors who played Iago and Othello and what they brought to the play Although there have not been drastic changes in the way of staging directors of the play still have choices to make They do this by cutting certain lines or scenes or by making the focus of the play be on race or on jealousy Over the years there have been many outstanding performances of Othello each of which have left their mark on the stage history of the play by bringing something new and innovative to Shakespeares timeless tragedy There are several recorded productions of Othello between 1604 and 1648 when the theaters were closed by act of Parliament for twelve years These performances took place at many places often at the Globe Theater or elsewhere before royalty The first recorded production of Othello was in 1604 at the Banquetting House in Whitehall before King James I Barnet 217 There are also references to the play being performed in 1610 and also in 1613 Acclaimed Shakespearean actor of the day Richard Burbage seemed to occupy
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