I recently just closed a run of the Shakespearean tragedy, Othello, one of my favorite shows, and my all time favorite Shakespeare. I had the honor of playing Iago, the character who arguably could possibly one of the most villainous of characters ever written. This was not my first time playing this role as I had played this role a few years ago at College Station High School before recently taking it on at the Abilene Community Theatre. These two experiences were vastly different but held value to me nonetheless.
People asked me multiple times while I was in rehearsal why I chose to do the show a second time and I had only one legit response, that was not one pertaining to my love for the show and that was this: “I want to seek the truth of a character who so often is taken at face value to be evil just to be evil.” Now, of course, yes this character is maniacal, disgusting, evil, villainous, terrible, etc… But I truly had such a drive to see what was going on in the head of this..human with a tendency to take on the role of a psychopath. I chose to dive into this a second time because I truly did not think I had reached the level of understanding this man as was intended. But on this second journey I believe I had found it at last.
Now if you do not know the story of Othello I want you to go read it. Now. Did you read it? It’s awesome isn’t it? Okay, I”m not so sure you read it…okay fine. Go read the plot summary on spark notes.
Humanity is centered around the one thing that we are all constantly fighting tooth and nail for, and that is community. Community is the direct contributor to feeling valued and loved by those around us. Without a community we feel lost and alone, without purpose and light. With this in mind I decided to take a look at the community of Iago. But much to my surprise, I found that there is no reference or even hint of a true community that Iago feels he can invest in. The closest community we see in relation to Iago is Roderigo, and even then, Roderigo does not even take the time to get to know Iago personally.
Now, I know it may sound like I am defending the actions of Iago and no I am not doing that. But to see that Iago has no one close to him is sad to see and is a good foundation to see the motivations of why he does what he does to these people. Then when you add the layers of the passing of lieutenancy onto Cassio, and the suspicion of Othello’s relationship with Emilia, these layers heighten the circumstances of Iago further motivating him to take the steps that lead him to do the evil he does.”But I will wear my heart upon my sleeve
Because of these things I have found the importance of speaking life and how much power we as people hold when it comes to the emotions of others. Speaking truth is vital when it comes to building community and something that we should all strive to do. But, it comes with its challenges. There is this phrase that I learned last summer that I think goes along with this idea so well. “Default to trust.” I heard this for the first time from my intern leader, Matt Mormance, in Slovenia. This has helped me develop relationships and dive into what it means to truly invest in others.
Default to trust. Know that your friendships and relationships are there to build you up and not to tear you down. When you take that into account you will see that this community of trust is truly valuable and so important in also building a relationship with God.
I am so thankful for the experience to dive into this show once more, as it has truly allowed for me to learn so much about myself and the value of community. My charge for you is to not be afraid to dive into new relationships and build the trust, but also to default to trust in these relationships.
And so we must go on, to take the Journey Onward.