After his EIF success, Andy Clark tackles the Bard
Andy Clark is perhaps Scotland’s most in demand actor at present. From his earliest days at Dundee Rep a decade back, his performances have long garnered praise, but in such productions as The Ching Room and The Last Witch over the last year, he has reached new peaks.
His latest role, as Shakespeare’s most complex and charismatic villain, Iago, looks set to showcase his talents to good effect. Guy Hollands’ production for the Citz goes beyond the simple politics of race in exploring the traducing of the decent title character by the ignoble Iago. ‘We all know that there’s a generation of Scots that are still inadvertently racist, so there’s a certain relevance to that theme,’ says Clark. ‘It’s funny, though, you always think that race is the main thing, but actually, aside from that deep seated, unconscious racism in people that we see early on, it becomes less of an issue as the play goes along.’
There are, Clark maintains, many strands to the play, one hitherto overlooked theme being the consequences of filling the streets of peaceful cities with soldiery. ‘It’s a contemporary setting, very military, lots of grey and dark colours,’ he explains. ‘Othello and probably Iago have only known combat – Othello has known nothing but war since he was a child. When they get to Cyprus and there’s no war, all hell breaks loose.’
As to his famously treacherous character, Clark sees him as more multifaceted than you might expect. ‘I’m certainly not trying to go down the simple evil route. He’s a realist really, and a lot of the stuff he says, you can’t argue with. Even though he’s a got a cynicism about him, some of what he says is sadly true. I don’t think he’s an out-and-out psychopath. You don’t want people to be too sympathetic with him, but he has a certain quality, however flawed he is.’
Citizens’ Theatre, Glasgow, Wed 21 Oct–Sat 14 Nov