Things may finally be looking up for black and ethnic minority actors, particularly in the arts as the Royal Shakespeare Company announced on Wednesday it was casting a black actor as the famous villain ‘Iago ‘ in ‘Othello’.
Game of Thrones’ actor Lucian Msamati will take up the role in the summer of 2015, when the play resumes in Stratford Upon Avon.
The radical decision to cast Msamati who has also appeared in Doctor Who is even more gobsmacking as he will be starring opposite Hugh Quarshie (Rick Griffin: Holby City) who plays the lead Othello.
Artistic director Gregory Doran admitted casting two black actors in a lead role in a Shakespearean play would push racial politics in the play to the fore.
“Really watch this space,” said Doran.
“I know when I was watching it with a really good white Iago opposite Hugh, I was thinking right, yes, I’ve seen this before, terrific.”
“But with Lucian, every line became freshly minted and it challenged the whole play in a way I found completely revelatory. You just watch two really, really good actors doing it and that is the major issue.”
Speaking to the Evening Standard, Msamati himself said he was “thrilled” and “honoured” to be starring in the play adding that “playing an iconic character opposite one of the most distinguished actors in the country, under the watchful eye of a passionate, intelligent director? Dreams don’t get better than this.”