Open Forum

Lend Me A Tenor's Otello

  • 1.  Lend Me A Tenor's Otello

    Posted 09-07-2019 10:14
    We really want to do Lend Me A Tenor in the spring but my students and I are having some serious discussions about the blackface Otello characters. We are a small school of limited diversity, but our community is very diverse. How do we address the "brown face" makeup needed to maintain the identity confusion central to the play, without offending our community and putting an entire cast on edge? I'm even considering masks or half masks. How have others handled this? Any suggestions or feedback would be appreciated.

    Susan Rhoden
    Senior Project Coordinator
    Sr. English Teacher
    ITS Troupe 6616 Sponsor
    Edgewood Jr/Sr High School

  • 2.  RE: Lend Me A Tenor's Otello

    Posted 09-08-2019 04:36
    In the musical version of Lend Me a Tenor they changed Otello to Pagliacci. The characters wear clown makeup.
    Hope this helps.

    Erik Stein
    Recruitment Coordinator
    PCPA Pacific Conservatory Theatre
    Santa Maria CA

  • 3.  RE: Lend Me A Tenor's Otello

    Posted 09-08-2019 13:21
    we did LEND ME A TENOR last year without using any special face makeup...... Both boys were Hispanic. we had matching wigs and costuming..... and the audience bought it...willing Suspension of Disbelief...
    if the actors are duped, audience will be happy to be deceived as well.
    It's a great show. zdon't worry about the ""brown" face...

    Ginger Latimer
    Performing Arts Chair/ Theatre Director
    Madera CA

  • 4.  RE: Lend Me A Tenor's Otello

    Posted 09-09-2019 08:24
    When we did the show, we just used black zorro masks as part of the costume and no specific Otello Makeup.  Worked great and wasn't offensive!

    Brooke Phillips
    Omaha NE

  • 5.  RE: Lend Me A Tenor's Otello

    Posted 09-09-2019 21:28
    I would suggest reaching out directly to Samuel French. While I don't know this for sure, I have heard from another director that Ken Ludwig recently updated the play and changed the opera from Otello to Pagliacci (a change that had already been made in the musical version). They may be able to tell you more or send you the script updates. Hope this helps!

    Elizabeth Berg
    Drama Teacher