From the 15 – 17 November the Caccia Studio was filled with an intriguing blend of some of the world’s greatest literary art. The production of Othello (directed by Mr Broad, his 60th play at Eton) by boys in Baldwin’s Bec boarding House not only had Shakespearean soliloquies, but also included a rendition of Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline.  

While a far cry from the Othello first performed for King James I in 1604, it still managed to accommodate all tastes and the original was combined with modern interpretations and settings. It is much to Mr Broad’s credit that he managed to adapt Shakespeare’s sixth longest play so skilfully. The play was cut from being well over two hours to a mere 80 minutes, much more manageable for a teenage audience. The acting, dancing and singing were to an incredibly high standard.  

Mr Broads’s most significant change to the Bard’s original play was the resetting in a 21st century Cyprian gym and the removal of Act One in its entirety. However, the play did not suffer. By changing the play in this way, even those of us who know Othello very well – thanks to GCSE English – were kept entertained. Surprises were around every corner, whether that was Cassio suffering the after-effects of drinking too much, Desdemona doing some weights or even boys wearing beach hats and singing, it was thoroughly amusing.  

Baldwin’s Bec is lucky enough to have a House full of acting talent across all Blocks. Ade A was brilliant in the eponymous role. As perhaps the most charismatic boy in the school, he was perfect for the part of Othello and brought one of Shakespeare’s most complex characters to life. Opposite him as his ill-fated wife was Luke O-P, an extremely convincing Desdemona who managed to capture both her naivety and her nobility.

Of course, it wouldn’t be Othello without his cunning anti-hero counterpart Iago, a character with more lines than any other Shakespearean character barring Hamlet and Richard III. Antonio G-V played the part fantastically well in his stage debut at Eton. His soliloquies were terrifyingly convincing, and one could practically see the manipulation and devilry in his eyes.  

Producing a play like Othello for a House play is no easy task. It was a bold move on Baldwin’s Bec and Mr Broad’s part, but it paid off handsomely.  For three nights the Caccia Studio was filled with laughing audiences, and everyone who put in so much effort to make it happen deserves our praise.