A large-scale personality, burly and often bearded, and blessed with a richly expressive voice, Bruce Purchase could be a remarkably potent presence on stage. Born in New Zealand, he won a scholarship to study acting in England. After training at Rada he worked in repertory, including a spell at Liverpool Playhouse, before auditioning successfully for Laurence Olivier, then assembling his first National Theatre Company at the Old Vic. Purchase appeared initially in walk-on roles or understudying but soon made his mark; he was especially impressive as a cockily cunning Balthasar in Franco Zeffirelli's exuberant version of Much Ado About Nothing with Maggie Smith and Robert Stephens. Purchase also spent some time as a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company, although he was rarely given worthwhile roles, and he was part of a distinguished company at the Mermaid Theatre for a revelatory The Tempest directed by Jonathan Miller as an allegory of early colonialism Ariel, Caliban and the goddesses — singing the Masque to brilliant Monteverdi pastiche from Carl Davies — were all outstanding black performers with Graham Crowden a mesmerising Prospero and Purchase an intriguingly smiling and duplicitous Sebastian.
Shakespeare gone wild: City Garage's renegade 'Othello/Desdemona' - Los Angeles Times
Promotional images of 'Othello' designed and photographed by Tori Close ' Courtesy Jessica Adler ' The atmosphere was casual and warm, with the actors waiting in place for the performance to begin and the audience separated by only the imaginary fourth wall. Underneath the bright, movable stage lights that illuminated both the stage and the audience, the excitement was palpable and the show was sold out. At , the audience hushed and the performance began. Although the characters are all decorated members of the army, the action happens within the intrigue of rumor.
Iago continues to torment Othello, dropping suggestions into his ear while arguing that they are not great transgressions, which just works Othello up even more. He finally pushes Othello so far that the general becomes incoherent and finally falls down into a trance. Reviving Othello, he proposes to have a chat with Cassio about Desdemona, letting Othello overhear. Othello agrees.