David Suchet


by William Shakespeare


RSC production, opening night 24 September 1985 at RST, Stratford with a transfer to the Barbican, 1986
Director: Terry Hands

Set Design: Ralph Koltai

Costume Design: Alexander Reid

Lighting: Terry Hands, Clive Morris

Music: Nigel Hess



Synopsis     Notes 


Ben Kingsley..... Othello, a black soldier, the "Moor" of Venice

Niamh Cusack..... Desdemona, Othello's new wife

David Suchet..... Iago, Othello's ensign (a low-ranking officer)
Janet Dale..... Emilia, Iago's wife

Tom Mannion..... Cassio, Othello's lieutenant

Gerard Logan..... Roderigo, a Venetian gentleman in love with Desdemona

Joseph O’Conor..... Brabantio, Desdemona's father, a Venetian senator

Paul Webster..... Gratiano, Brabantio's brother

Brian Horstead..... Montano, Governor of Cyprus

Trevor Martin..... Duke of Venice

Roger Llewellyn..... Lodovico, a relation of Brabantio

Penny Ryder..... Bianca, a courtesan in love with Cassio

John Nolan..... First Gentleman

Keith Osborn..... Second Gentleman

Max Gold..... Third Gentleman

Arnold Yarrow..... Clown in Othello's employment




"Othello the Moor, a general employed by the Venetian state, has secretly married Desdemona, a daughter of the senator Brabantio. Iago, an ensign nursing resentment against Othello, enlists the help of Rodorigo, a disappointed suitor of Desdemona. They wake Brabantio in the middle of the night with the news of his daughter's elopement. Brabantio takes the case to the senate where, learning that she has married Othello of her own accord, he disowns his daughter.


Othello is immediately ordered to the Venetian colony of Cyprus to repel a threatened Turkish invasion. Desdemona sails with her husband, taking with them her companion Emilia, who is also Iago's wife, and Othello's lieutenant Michael Cassio, newly promoted over Iago's head. Once in Cyprus, Iago plants the suspicion in Othello's mind that Desdemona has been unfaithful to him with Cassio. He engineers a drunken brawl for which Cassio is blamed and dismissed by Othello.


Desdemona intercedes on Cassio's behalf but her constant pleas to Othello for his reinstatement only serve to convince Othello that Cassio is her lover. Iago acquires a treasured handkerchief that belonged to Desdemona and uses it as 'proof of the affair. Increasingly maddened by jealousy, Othello orders Iago to kill Cassio and strangles Desdemona himself. Emilia discloses her husband's plot and Othello, tormented by grief and remorse, kills himself. Iago, after murdering his own wife, is left to the justice of the Venetian state"  

About Shakespeare’s play and the playwright, stage history etc.

Othello at the RSC, 1985:

“Kingsley did not use makeup for his Moor, but played him as an accented Arab. The physical relationship between Ben Kingsley's Othello and David Suchet's Iago was the starting point for many reviews of this production. Michael Billington, amongst others, noted that Suchet followed 'the Freudian line by implying Iago is deeply in love with Othello and manically jealous of Desdemona'. While the critic for the Yorkshire Post pointed out that 'Both are small men with dark eyes, balding heads and beards... Suchet... and Kingsley exploit their physical similarities to suggest that Othello and Iago are two halves of one whole.' Since this production, the part of Othello has been played at the RSC by black actors” 


Suchet wrote an essay on Iago in the Cambridge series "Players of Shakespeare", suggesting that Iago's motivation in Othello is based on unfounded jealousy: Suchet, David, "Iago in "Othello"",  “Players of Shakespeare” 2, edited by Russell Jackson and Robert Smallwood, pp. 179-99. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1988. Check with Amazon for single volumes of the books (each contains essays from several performers of the RSC) or buy and download a copy of just Suchet's essay on-line

William Shakespeare’s text of the play


Production photos 





Photo provided by Diana





Ben Kingsley as Othello and David Suchet as Iago. Photo: Hello! magazine 1989 




September 2007 © All rights reserved

Last updated 25 July 2010