Session Five: Week 28


Written by Gaia and Clearie

We found the ensemble in good spirits today! During check-in, the ensemble member playing Roderigo let the ensemble know that she graduated from building trades.  Her positivity spread through the whole room as we went into check-in and lowered our ring. Afterwards, the ensemble collectively decided that they wanted to get right into Shakespeare and save the games for the end.

It took a few minutes for everyone to decide on which scene to start with. At the beginning of rehearsal we were missing our Cassio and Othello, which put limitations on which scenes we could run. Eventually the group decided to begin with a scene centered around Iago and Roderigo. The women began by simply reading the scene at the edge of the stage and then, after it was clear in their minds, they ran it a couple times on its feet.

Cuts were suggested by the ensemble member playing Iago, which brought up some necessary discussion. Considering the groups allotted time frame for the play, line-cuts are a crucial part of the process.  However, when dealing with such beautiful verse, it can be easy to become attached to certain lines. Gaia and I struggled letting lines infused with Shakespeare’s beautiful literary genius go.  Here, we found it to be difficult to take a back seat and let the women lead the process, but amidst the discussion and debate in the cast, it was decided that the women would try both versions in order to see what worked best. As Gaia and I took a step back, some of the debated lines were cut and some stayed but, most importantly, we discovered faith in our confidence in the ensemble’s ability to resolve conflict peacefully and democratically.  

Once the woman playing Cassio arrived, the group moved on to play out Act 3, Scene 4 and Act 4, Scene 1. The woman playing Bianca in 3.4 has been able to get off-book for the scene, which gave her a wonderful amount of freedom to play with! It was clear that she and her scene partner have really found joy in acting out this scene and the extra work Bianca had put into memorization really paid off.  The scene flowed organically and all of the ensemble members involved with the scene stepped away feeling confident and comfortable.  

For 4.1 we had a new group member volunteer to play Othello, and the group worked as a cohesive ensemble to figure out the difficult staging.  The new ensemble member was an extremely powerful presence onstage.  Her delivery was impeccable and all of the other ensemble members noticed her talent right away, complimenting her and supporting her from the moment she stood up to the moment she exited the theatre space.  

It was during this scene that the woman playing Roderigo, who was having a particularly good day, expressed to Gaia and me just how high her spirits were: “If I could have days like this, I would be able to make it through the rest of my sentence so easily.” It made me think of how important having a positive psyche and outlook is. I know many people who struggle with this even outside of prison.  Her positivity alone had a strong ripple effect on the ensemble throughout the night.  

We finished off the night by playing a fun improv game led by some of the seasoned ensemble members. We lifted our ring and everyone left a little sleepy, but smiling nonetheless and headed out into one of the first warm nights we’ve had in a couple months.  


Written by Kyle

Right off the bat tonight, we entered into an extremely important debate; after the warm up we talked about understudies for the main roles.  We had started with our discussion of the Desdemona part; our current actor said that she was eligible for another program that would positively affect her release date.  She said they may call her at any time, including the possibility of them not calling during the run of the show.  One of the newer members immediately volunteered unchallenged; she had been in a production of Othello in high school and played Desdemona.  So the question of Othello’s understudy came up, and again a newer member was nominated.  The question of whether or not Othello needed to be played by an actor of color was revisited.  I was surprised because I didn’t feel as though we really exhausted the conversation during the casting.  The actor chosen was everyone’s first pick; she had expressed how desperately she wanted to play the role, and we never really had to revisit the issue.  So it felt a little out of place to have such an existential question of our story so late in the process.  Some women felt that having an actor of color playing the role of Othello was essential to the story that they we’re trying to tell, and other members did not.  I think that everyone thought that it was ideal, but in the spirit of ‘the show must go on,’ were willing to part with the ideal casting should occasion arise.  It started to get heated, and I challenged the ensemble to take the weekend and we would revisit it again after we all had some time to give it some thought.  Seeing as we already had an Othello who fully intended to finish the process, there was not exactly a rush to find an answer.  

There was also some discomfort about how long it was taking to block the show.  We counted the weeks and we felt a little uncomfortable about the number of weeks to crunch time and how much more of the show still yet to stage.  Another ensemble member said she was having trouble visualizing the show since we have not gone back and run the scenes we have staged.  It was a kind of a rock and hard place to some extent, since we had just finished a conversation about how much more we had to stage in a limited time.  We decided to press on; we also decided that we would have to start staging scenes whether the actors were present or not, a practice which up until now we had avoided.

We started staging the infamous ‘slap scene’ where Othello hits Desdemona in front of Lodovico.  This scene has the potential to run to extremes but no one really took it there.  We ran it several times and worked different ways to block the scene.  One break through we had was when one of the ensemble suggested that it was the letter from Lodovico that set him over the edge; Othello’s paranoia was such that suddenly everyone was against him, including the Duke from thousands of miles away.  This made a lot of sense to the actors, and then immediately the ensemble set to restage to have Othello reading more of a focal point of the staging.  We had lots of our newer members reading in for absent members, so for some of them it was their first time reading Shakespeare in front of anyone.  It was so wonderful to see the ensemble unconditionally rally around them in their time of need.  The actor playing Desdemona, who at the outset of the season bewailed the thought of ever really breaking out of her shell, was ushering in the newer members and has emerged as a leader in the group.  It’s a really special transformation to see, and I think has happened so subtly that I didn’t even really give its due credit; yet here she was, taking the lead role and serving as a support to those less experienced.  I left filled with gratitude and was amazed by the work of which I get to take part.


Session Five: Week 18

We decided to stick to our plan of playing games through the new year. I introduced a new game, with the caveat that it might lead to potential triggers, and I asked if that was okay with the group. First off, we decided that if something came up, we’d let each other know. Then one ensemble member said she was okay with triggers because she feels safe in the group again. Many ensemble members vocally agreed with her.


The first game we played was very silly and allowed everyone to have a good laugh during a very tough time of year. Then a few ensemble members said they’d like to try a game that wasn’t necessarily funny. I then led “Real to Ideal,” a Theatre of the Oppressed exercise in which we look at a real situation, then what it would ideally be, and the possible transitions between the two. Our first situation was a hostile workplace in which a tyrannical boss was lording it over co-workers. An ideal version of this showed the co-workers pointing out their good work to the boss, and the boss smiling and encouraging them. We determined that, in order for the situation to change, the workers needed to stand up for themselves and have empathy for the boss, who wants productivity above all. The boss needs to also have empathy for the workers.


We then decided to try this in relation to Othello (since some ensemble members were itching to get back to Shakespeare). They chose Iago’s “put money in thy purse” monologue, in which Roderigo is won over and thoroughly cowed. What would it take to change this dynamic?


“It would take a change in conscious thought,” said one woman. “This guy is just full of crap, and I’m gonna do what I think is right.” This, she reasoned, would decrease Iago’s confidence.


In the play, we wondered, why can’t Roderigo advocate for himself? Some think it’s because he’s naturally a follower, although others lay the blame on his naiveté. By and large, we don’t think he’s stupid. “He wants something, and Iago can get him what he wants,” said one woman. Some called this a “deal with the devil,” and we drew parallels between this and Emilia’s thought that she would cuckold her husband for the world. The play seems to be full of such bargains.


Then the conversation expanded. “Don’t you think that this setting, with NA and AA, makes you more empathetic to these characters?” said one woman. “The prison journey helps you understand people better – you become self aware.”


There was general agreement. “I’ve been the manipulator and the manipulated. When I was the manipulator, I never thought people were stupid – I just thought I was really good,” said one ensemble member. “This is why I wanted to do Othello,” said a member who was in the group last year, “So people can learn from its messages.”


“Do you guys ever feel bad when you admit you were the bad points of these characters?” said another woman.


“Absolutely,” replied a longtime ensemble member. “I feel so close to Roderigo because he’s ruled by his heart. I’ve been that person, and it’s sad.”


“It makes me aware of how I used to behave, how I behave now, and how I’m gonna be in the future,” said the woman who had posed the question.


“Iago is a sick person,” said another woman. “Maybe he’ll go on a journey of self discovery in prison.”


Another woman had doubts. “This kind of sickness is like TB – you can go get better, but it can hide out and come back, like addiction.”


This led us to wonder about what happens after the play’s end. “You could do a whole play on Iago in prison,” said one woman excitedly. “If Iago went to prison, he’d never change because he’d be like everyone there,” said another.


Our plan for next week is to make the first round of cuts to the play. Some people are eager to do this, and others are nervous. This usually starts out awkwardly and quickly becomes a lot of fun, so I’m looking forward to it. It will be good to get back to work on the play!

Session Five: Week 12



We continued on with our “Freeze” style of scene exploration tonight, beginning with Act IV Scene II. After our first time through, I asked what we had learned. “We’re getting better at it,” said one woman. “We’re giving each other more time to play, but we’re also taking the time to feel out each other’s energy. We’re slowly getting better.”

“I’m trying to read all the parts,” said another woman, “But I also want other people in there.” Sarah responded that that sentiment is both generous and brave – to know that, however much we as individuals want to get up every single time, it’s best for the ensemble if we encourage others to do so as well.

Kyle had gone in as Desdemona for part of the scene, and we asked him how that felt. We had all agreed that, since we all take each other seriously playing men, we shouldn’t have an issue taking Kyle seriously if he read a female character. “I felt vulnerable playing Desdemona,” he said. “I felt… embarrassed in front of you guys, which surprised me.” Everyone reassured him that he had no reason to be embarrassed – that we enjoyed his interpretation of Desdemona and welcomed him to continue to read the women in the play if he wants to.

“I know what you mean, though, about feeling embarrassed,” said one woman. “I haven’t read any female characters, and I don’t think I’m going to. I know I’m a woman and everything, but I feel more like a guy, and I know how you feel, Kyle. It’s hard to explain, but it’s hard for me, and I feel really vulnerable and embarrassed, too, when I play a woman. I know I can do anything I put my mind to, but…” The ensemble made sure she knew that we will never “make” her doing anything she’s uncomfortable with – if she only wants to read the male characters, no one has a problem with that.

We continued to talk about how Kyle being male changes the dynamic for us at times. “It changed things when I played the Bianca scene and was yelling at Kyle as Cassio,” said one woman. “When it’s all women, no matter what, I always know it’s all women. You can’t get much closer to a man than Kyle,” she joked, and we all laughed. “But it brought up different feelings from when I play scenes with other women.” Kyle mentioned that he’s been hesitant to read Othello in the abusive scenes, and, while many members of the group hadn’t thought about how it might change things for a man to read those lines in our group setting, they said that they appreciated his concern and agreed that it’s best that he continue not to (potentially) rock the boat in that way.

We talked a bit about the end of this scene, in which Iago convinces Roderigo (with ease) to kill Cassio. We’re interested in how this relationship evolves, and how Roderigo gets to this point. “If someone you know is going further than you normally would, you’re likely to go further, too. What seemed outrageous now isn’t,” said one woman. “Roderigo has now invested so much that he can’t walk away from this plot,” said another woman. “He’s in too deep.”

We did the scene this way again, this time challenging ourselves to stay in a “ready” posture while seated, trying to breath with each other and sustain the emotional energy of the scene. We were very successful at this, and it was invigorating. “It’s so entertaining,” said one woman, “I love how everyone has a different perspective on these characters, but it still flows.” We talked specifically about the different takes on Desdemona we saw – one woman focusing on her sweetness, her innocence, and another taking a more earthy, aggressive approach. “I see Desdemona as a strong woman,” that ensemble member said. “She’s loving, but she has a voice.”

We moved on to Act IV Scene III, most of which is an intimate scene between Desdemona and Emilia. It took quite awhile for anyone to tag out the two women who were up first – we were quite taken with what they were doing, and no one wanted to interrupt. I asked, afterward, how they felt. “I felt helpless,” said the woman who read Emilia. “I would be really uncomfortable if this was real. I’m just not that nurturing, I guess. I’d want to make her leave – I’d want tie her up and drag her away, but I can’t… I couldn’t do enough. I wasn’t doing enough.” Interestingly, though she felt so intensely uncomfortable, the way she played the scene was totally believable to all of us – we loved her take on it and thought that perhaps Emilia is extremely uncomfortable in the scene.

The woman who read Desdemona said that she felt helpless in the scene – that all she wanted was for Othello to believe her, and she couldn’t understand why he wouldn’t. “I’m in my own little world,” she said, “They’re in the scene together… but they’re not in the scene together.”

“It’s really uncomfortable as an audience member,” said one woman. “You just want to make it stop.”

We talked more about the two women, alone in this scene. Is Emilia venting; projecting her own experiences onto Desdemona? And what about Desdemona? Is she capitulating here? Is she weak? Or is it more complicated than that?

“She’s preparing to finish this out with her husband,” one woman said adamantly. “She knows that in the end there will only be truth… And that her dying is how that truth will come out. She’s preparing herself for death. If you know you’re about to die and you prepare yourself in an honorable way, that’s strong. In her ‘weakness,’ she is strong.”

Others feel Desdemona is dying for love, or sacrificing herself to free Othello from his jealous “madness.” Still others feel that she’s just completely broken at this point and can’t fight anymore. As with so many meetings of our group, we ended acknowledging that all of these differing interpretations hold truth, and no matter where we land, we are not likely to be unanimous in our interpretation. But that’s something we all value about what we do, and, of course, about these plays.




At the beginning of tonight’s session, an ensemble member shared with me that she and a few others were having some challenges in the group – things they perceived to be going on that undermined our feeling of ensemble. I asked her to consider an open circle conversation rather than continuing to let any ill feeling fester – these are always challenging conversations to have, but we do better when we “air grievances” in a constructive way than when we try to ignore them.

This led to a very long conversation, which was constructive at some times and not so much at others. There are some members of the group who have more experience with peaceful conflict resolution than others, and we kept coming back to our core values: listening, respect, and open communication. Things that had been done or said by some were revealed to have had different intentions than what came through, and we agreed as a group that we need to work toward taking people at their word when they tell us that we misinterpreted their words or actions. We also agreed to continue to work on the words we choose to use with one another in moments of heightened emotion, to try very hard not to interrupt, to be conscious of ways in which our behavior (down to posture and facial expressions) might be misinterpreted, and to be open to constructive criticism from the ensemble.

As the conversation appeared to run out of steam, and we began trying to figure out how to transition, one woman nudged another and said, “Do it.” The second woman said, “Oh, no, I don’t know.” Well, that intrigued all of us – what was going on here? “She memorized Emilia’s monologue,” the first woman said. “I want her to do it for the group.” We all cheered this on, but the second woman blushed and said she was too nervous. “I’ll do it if you will!” I volunteered. This helped motivate her to get up and do the monologue. As she did, the energy in the room shifted. We were all with her, 100%, as she struggled to find lines and land intentions. When she finished, we burst into applause. “I messed up so much!” she said. “It doesn’t matter!” we replied. We loved what she had done – learning the piece just for the sake of doing it, and then sharing it with us at a moment when we really needed a jolt of positive energy.

“Your turn,” she said, turning to me. I then did an Iago piece that I had learned for my visit several weeks ago to Shakespeare Behind Bars in western Michigan. The group gave me a lot of support for it, even though I rushed it a bit and skipped over some lines.

And this led us into what I guess I’d call a “jam,” as ensemble members encouraged each other to pop up and share whatever they wanted. One ensemble member has begun learning an Othello monologue, which she shared with us, and we loved. Kyle shared his “go-to” Shakespeare soliloquy, while others shared pieces they’ve done in the past, and one woman shared a poem that inspires her. Still others got up and did one-person versions of scenes from movies, and others did scenes from Othello with scripts in their hands.

We checked in before we left, and some members of the group still felt uncomfortable from our conversation, but they understood why it was important to have. Kyle and I agreed as we walked out that, while the conversation itself could have been more constructive and less heated, leaving people less “put off” at the end, in the scheme of things it was beneficial simply to have the conversation. We can only get better at these skills by practicing them, and sometimes that means we fail a bit. It won’t be the last contentious discussion we need to have as a group; the hope is that the next one will go a little better.

Session Five: Week 10



We began tonight with a brief discussion of the end of Act IV Scene II, in which Iago enlists Roderigo to kill Cassio. We are still divided on what motivates Roderigo to do what Iago tells him to do – why he gets sucked back in every time he tries to pull out. This is really going to come down to whichever ensemble member plays Roderigo – I doubt we’re ever all going to agree!

We then read Act IV Scene III, the scene between Emilia and Desdemona as the latter prepares for bed. “What is this scene about?” I asked the group. “I don’t know, but whatever it is, is giving me anxiety,” said one ensemble member.

We all agreed that Desdemona has some sense in this scene of what is about to happen to her – whether she fully realizes that she is about to die was a point of debate, but we all agreed that she knows something bad is about to occur. “She’s resigned,” said one woman, “She’s not even fighting anymore.”

Why does she stay? “She loves Othello so much and is so loyal. She’d rather stay than go. She’s more willing to die because he thinks of her this way,” suggested one person. We picked apart Desdemona’s final line in the scene – “Heaven me such uses send, / Not to pick bad from bad, but by bad mend.” Again we were divided: is she saying that she can somehow mend the rift between her and her husband, or is she saying that killing her is what’s going to “fix” Othello? Several of us pondered where Desdemona would even go if she did leave – her father is dead (although that isn’t mentioned until the last scene, there is an enormous rift, regardless), she’s never been on her own, she’s quite young, and she’s quite dependent. She really has no options.

What is Emilia doing in this scene? We know she’s trying to make Desdemona feel better. We’re still debating how much she knows of what’s really going on with Othello. We also debated her monologue toward the end of the scene about what motivates women to cheat on their husbands, and whether they are justified. Some of us think she’s fishing to see if there is any chance that Desdemona was unfaithful. Some of us think she’s trying to lighten the mood. Others believe that she’s venting that even if Desdemona had cheated, it wouldn’t be a reason to abuse her – and some of us think that, in a way, Emilia is talking about herself.

We then read and discussed Act V Scene I, in which Roderigo and Cassio fight, and Iago kills Roderigo. We talked about the chaos of the scene – the darkness in which it takes place, and about Iago’s actions more than anyone else’s. “Oh, he’s awesome in this scene,” said one woman, speaking of the way in which he handles a result he didn’t anticipate – killing Roderigo and casting suspicion for Cassio’s injury on Bianca.

And what about that murder? “Well, he kinda had to kill Roderigo,” said one woman, noting that if Roderigo lived he would almost certainly expose the whole plot. “The tension and desperation are coming to a head, you guys,” said another. “Do you realize this is the first time Iago’s actually doing his own dirty work?”

It was an invigorating conversation. Despite the heaviness of the material and its parallels to some of the women’s own lives, we are approaching it (at this point, anyway) in a way that is more intellectual than emotional, and it’s enabling us to have a lot of fun. We are really enjoying delving in and analyzing it. It’s a great foundation to have for when we get up on our feet with it… which will be soon!




After our check in, we dove into Act V Scene II, which is long, intense, and ends the play.

After reading Othello’s first monologue, we paused to talk about his mental/emotional state. Some hear a belief that he’s saving Desdemona, others think it’s really all about him. He sounds spent and exhausted. He seems to believe he’s so far in that there’s no going back. “The language here is flowery. It’s like she fell from grace,” said one woman. “Maybe he’s not just talking about putting out her light,” said another. “She’s the light of his life, and he’s also extinguishing that – his own light.”

We then read through the section that ends with Desdemona’s smothering. “Man, he didn’t even let her talk,” said one woman when we paused. “I’ve been Desdemona, felt those hands around my throat – when they’re at that point, there’s no stopping them,” one woman shared.

I thanked her for sharing something so personal, and then there was a brief silence. “What does the language tell us about the scene?” I asked. It’s fast, disjointed, chaotic, and fragmented, various women suggested. “The thing is,” I said, “She does get some language out, even though she’s constantly interrupted. What’s going on here?”

“Mentally he’s not there anymore,” said one woman. “He’s there, but he’s not there. After he smothers her, he may come back. I call it ‘zoning out.’ You can do a lot of things when you zone out. And then you come back.”

“What would have happened if he delayed for a half hour, like she asks him to?” asked Kyle. “Maybe he wants to do it quick because he feels like he needs to do it,” said one woman. “If he gives it the time, he might not act,” added another. “He thinks she’s still lying,” said another member, “and it makes him angrier.”

We finished reading the scene. I asked the group how they felt about Othello’s final speeches. “He fell into a trap. And it could happen to the best of us,” said one woman. “It does happen to the best of us – we’re all here, aren’t we?” responded another, “But we’re still responsible for our actions. I can feel grief for him, but I’m still pissed at him.”

“I can’t feel sorry for him,” said another woman. “He could have chosen differently at so many points, or investigated more. He had more than one opportunity.”

“I don’t feel sorry for him, but I definitely empathize with him,” said another member. “Can we have empathy for Othello without feeling sorry for him?” I asked the group. “What does that mean, empathy?”

“It means you can put yourself in that person’s position,” said one woman. “It means you can see their perspective.”

“I feel like, being in prison, we’re experts in empathy,” said another. “We all have empathy for each other, for everyone here, just about.”

One woman said that she was fascinated by the idea that “women undid both of these men.” “Did they?” responded Kyle. “Both of these men killed their wives.” We talked more and concluded that, if we refine this idea, we can see that the true crux is a lack of understanding that Othello and Iago have of women – that they turn out to have the same weakness in the end.

Why does Iago, who talks and talks and talks throughout the play, go silent when asked to explain himself? Especially given Shakespeare’s propensity to give his “villains” a last speech to clarify their motives or express a longing for redemption. We thought about that. “Does Iago get what he wanted?” asked Kyle.

“Totally – he got people’s lives ruined, so he got what he wanted,” said one woman. “He didn’t want his own life ruined, though. He has no power in the end. Nothing good came out of this for him. He’s no better than Othello in peoples’ minds, and he cares a lot about what other people think of him,” another responded.

“I think he wanted to be Othello. So no,” said another woman. “He hurt a lot of people… He’s in the balance somewhere,” said another.

We were out of time then, but we are very excited to start to explore these scenes on their feet. Many people are eager to read for different characters, and this is where we’ll begin to think about where people fit in terms of casting, even as we continue to explore the play’s themes.

Session Five: Week 6, Part 1


We spent a lot of time checking in within our circle tonight, as there is a lot going on with some members of the group, and we all wanted to listen as they shared. The support and strength coming from the circle were heartening – the willingness to listen, to offer condolences and gentle advice, and to segue into group jokes and more lighthearted talk that enabled us to move on… I was very glad that we took the time that we did.

We then finished reading Act II Scene III, intending to get it on its feet. But the group discussion surrounding the scene and characters was so intense, enlightening, and constructive that we never quite got there – and no one seemed to mind.

We talked a lot about Iago and our varying “takes” on him. Some think that he’s arrogant and out to prove something – either he doesn’t think he’s that bad or he doesn’t care. One woman believes strongly that his intent is to prove how smart he is. Then someone mentioned that perhaps he is “evil,” and the conversation took a turn toward the stuff that is at the heart of the work that we do.

“He’s NOT evil,” said one woman. “Just imagine if you’d worked your whole life toward something, only to be passed over and have nothing to show for it. I’d break down, too.”

“It must be exhausting, carrying around all those resentments,” said another. “This is me six years ago – I know how this feels.”

“How many of us have dated Iago?” asked one woman, and at least five others raised their hands. “I relate to Iago,” said another. “I dealt drugs, and I did them – I was always stealing from Peter to pay Paul.”

“Frannie always reminds us not to judge characters,” said a longtime member of the group. “Remember how a month ago I said I hated Cassio? Now I might like him. I might even want to play him… and I think you knew, Frannie.”

We all laughed. “Well, at first he can come off as kind of smug – he’s the Golden Boy, and nobody likes the Golden Boy,” I said, “But now that you’ve seen him take this fall, you can empathize with him more because it’s obvious that he’s not perfect… This is what we want to do - find our way in so we can understand and empathize with the characters – and sometimes that way in is through our personal experience.”

Sarah then said that she had gained new insight into Iago through what our ensemble was sharing. “Sometimes it just takes a person who’s walked a different path,” said a woman who’s been in the group for two years. “It is so strange, what you learn about yourself here. If you ever want to really learn about yourself, get locked up for a little while,” said another.

Another woman, who’d been rather quiet up to this point, said, “I don’t know… I really click with Iago. But, you know… I love like Othello, and I hate like Iago.” Many ensemble members nodded. “That’s the thing about this group,” she continued, “At so many points, it just shows me myself. I never thought I would be using this… but I use it in real life.” She elaborated a bit, speaking about using traits of the character she played in Shrew to guide her in one of her current pursuits.

We then branched off into a conversation about the influence of Othello’s military experience on his behavior in the play. Soldiers need to take their “fight-or-flight” responses and react properly, which often means staying calm while being on high alert. “It’s like being here,” said one woman. Another pointed out that it is selfless to serve one’s country as a soldier, and Kyle reminded all of us that, while that may be true, this isn’t Othello’s country – which other characters point out constantly – and that may give us more insight into him.

We briefly talked about Roderigo, too, as we ended our reading of the scene. Again he is ready to give up, and again he lets Iago pull him back into the plot. What’s going on with him? “Maybe he just has nothing to lose,” said one woman. This made a light bulb go off for me – when you truly have nothing, you often cling to some crazy hope. Maybe that’s the way in for whomever plays this character.

We are not even halfway through the play, and already the group’s insight is staggering to me. They are teaching me so much about this play, and I am so honored to be with them through this process.