Toni Morrison's response to Othello discusses racism, war and oppression.


Toni Morrison, Rokia Traoré, Peter Sellars

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Nobel prize laureate Toni Morrison wrote Desdemona after a discussion about Othello with the director Peter Sellars. In her text, Morrison gives a voice to Desdemona, who has a modest part in Shakespeare’s play. From the grave, the Shakespearean heroine fills in the gaps in her history through an intimate dialogue with Barbary, the African nanny who raised her. With her mesmerising voice, award-winning Malian singer-songwriter Rokia Traoré gives a virtuoso performance as Barbary. Traoré also wrote the music, which is performed by two musicians and two singers from Mali. As the play develops, we discover a different Desdemona, a woman of flesh and blood who speaks out about racism, war and oppression – and the transformative power of love.

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