Imagining Iago: How an Actor Turned Performance Anxiety into Brilliant Performance through the Use of Metaphor

http://livingstory-ny.blogspot.com

 

I work with story structure, image, and language. I thought you might be interested in my use of creative metaphor to contain, express, and transform negative emotions. I hope you find this post useful.

 

Juliet Bruce, Ph.D.

 

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The actor Liev Schreiber received wonderful reviews for his portrayal of the evil trickster Iago in the NY Public Theatre’s 2001 production of Othello.

"...audiences couldn't ask for a more captivating creator of chaos than the Iago of Liev Schreiber…."

"...awful and fascinating...thanks to the lucid complexity of Schreiber's performance, disturbingly real."

"...the ability to animate or embody an idea, as opposed to emblemizing it…"

"I found myself thinking, 'This guy would fool me, too.'"

 

The following year, Schreiber described how he created his Iago in a PBS "Great Performances" documentary. At first he found it nearly impossible to fully engage with the other actors. No matter how much direction he received, he kept finding himself circling the scene rather than dominating it from center stage, as the role is usually played. The root of this problem, Schreiber discovered, was his anxiety that he wouldn’t be able to remember all of his lines. (Iago has more lines than any other character in all of Shakespeare’s plays.) Read more

 


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