So I added Iassio overtones to The Travesty of Othello 2016 Foorth Centennial Edition... lots of Iassio overtones, if you hadn't noticed already where my shipping sympathies lie:
1) Iago knows a lot about Cassio's background (in my own headcanon):
IAGO (coldly, confident): There is. A young lieutenant, a stripling, of this new kind of "educated officers," still with wispy peach-fuzz on his upper lip. A childhood friend of your lady fair's, or so rumour has it. He's read a lot about warfare, but never trod on a real-life battlefield. Looks like a student expelled from university who had no other choice than to enlist...
Later on, the young lieutenant will be confirmed to have been a student expelled from university due to a drunken brawl similar to the one Iago orchestrated, as well as childhood friends with Desdemona.
2) This confirms furthermore that Iago's motivation may be unrequited love for a younger straight man:
IAGO: That is right, Roddy-baby, but there are still others who surpass me. For instance... That lieutenant knows how to appeal to ladies. And yes, he is a childhood friend to your princess. He was the best man at her wedding, to add insult to injury... I am sure he is up to something, and she has caught up with his scheme.
RODERIGO (clueless): You mean?
IAGO: Everyone grows weary of too much chocolate at the end of the day. And yes, the lieutenant is dashing, charming, cheerful, intelligent, well-spoken... and she knows him as well as if they were brother and sister. But now they are no longer children...
3) To piss off the lieutenant a little and raise his fight-or-flight response, Iago sings the first verses of the "Scotsman clad in kilt" song at the kegger, right when his commanding officer had suggested something less vulgar:
CASSIO (now cheerful and over-the-top, after smacking his lips): Iago! Couldn't you have chosen a less... vulgar song?
IAGO: Sorry, Lieutenant. I'm only a critic. Anyway, you're in charge. So if you would rather be pleased with some more... courteous lyrics, let's see what I can find! (Pause) A-ha! (getting on the table and pouring each officer a third drink, singing once more): Well, a Scotsman clad in kilt left a bar one evening fair,
and one could tell by how he walked than he'd drunk more than his share...
CASSIO (interrupting, loudly and irritated, packing Iago by the collar): Cut. It. OUT!!! NOT THAT ONE, NOT ANY OTHER LEWD SONG!! This is an ORDER, given straight by your COMMANDING OFFICER!!! (He lets go of Iago's collar.)
IAGO (raising his shot glass): If that's your command, Lieutenant, I say yes sir! Right, a song that's not lewd... not lewd... A-ha! As you requested, Lieutenant! This third time's the charm! (Singing to a different tune.) The more we are together,
the more we are together,
the merrier we get.
4) Iago tries to stop a drunken Cassio's rampage in quite an anxious way:
IAGO (pushing Cassio out of Roderigo's path): Lieutenant! Did you have too much to drink? Please snap out of this!! It's me, your second-in-command!
CASSIO (furious): Did you jusht nudge yer commanding offisher!!?? (After hitting Roderigo in the left eye, he draws steel and starts to swish his sword left and right, all over the courtyard, staggering and eventually wounding Iago, who at first, tries to stop Cassio with his own left-handed partizan, in the right arm. Background music: "Vltava", Smetana)
5) This whole scene just screams of Iassio ho-yay. Physical contact, conversation, that bandage as a token of love on Iago's side?:
IAGO (wincing slightly, clutching his wounded arm): Let's see. The lieutenant here is a really good and reliable young fellow, if it weren't for his liquid courage issues. So I tried to stop him, but in vain. He got completely intoxicated, and then he went berserk. We tried to stop his rampage, and I'm proud to say we have succeeded. Anyway, nobody's perfect, not even the Pope is infallible, so why should it be a young lieutenant? Why should he not, like so many youngsters, drink himself out of reason and lose control of himself?
OTHELLO (stern, looking at Cassio): You've even startled my dear lady fair... I'm sorry, Cassio. Though I love you, you will never make a lieutenant. You're fired. (He takes Cassio's sword and his hat, and gives them to Iago).
SCENE TWO: EXIT OTHELLO. IAGO AND CASSIO SIT DOWN ON ADJACENT CHAIRS.
IAGO (sarcastic): Are you hurt... Lieutenant?
CASSIO (still with that hangover): Nyes...
IAGO (concerned): I see no physical injury, so it must be something deeper. (Touching the left side of Cassio's chest, where he thinks the heart is). This looks very serious, Lieutenant. (Shakes his head. Pause.) Tell me, honestly, what you feel. Where in there does it hurt you? Your career? Your reputation? (Pause.) Anyway, what is a career? What is a reputation? (Shrugging his shoulders.) Much ado about nothing!
CASSIO (still hungover, sarcastic, cleaning his blade with a damp cloth): Good advice from a ranker to an officer.
IAGO (cheerful): Anyway, Lieutenant, in my own humble opinion, young people should let down their hair every now and then. If something's off limits, that doesn't mean it's the end of times if you dare to try it. Lieutenant, we all have learned most the things we know through trial and error. (Pause.) Now try to remember what happened last evening. Anyway, how much liquor went under your belt? How strong was it? And why were you swishing your sword all over the place?
CASSIO (still depressed and hungover, cleaning his blade): If only I could remember! (Pause.) Iago, to tell you the truth, my recollections of last evening are rather hazy. So here are the few pieces of the puzzle I can put together. (Pause.) I have I don't know how many drinks, strong drinks, with other men in uniform. Then, I suddenly flare up, I don't know why, and we are chasing each other. And then, fighting each other. That other person, who must have been a he... I never saw his face, but his chest was flat as a table... brings me down on the floor, and then the lights go out... I must have shut my eyes... and then I wake up with a throbbing head, a heavy heart, and an irrational urge to throw up. His Lordship and Her Ladyship are standing before me. And you are there too, bleeding and in pain. But what shocks me the most is seeing my sword all bloodstained. Here, Iago. You wouldn't bother to have a traitor's blood on your bandage? Besides, your wounds will heal sooner than mine. (Having wiped his sword clean, he gives the cloth to Iago, who dresses the wound on his right arm with it.)
IAGO (as he bandages his right arm): Why, I don't care, Lieutenant! Still, I think it was a shame, and a great shame, to waste good steel on your own subordinates.
CASSIO (still depressed and hungover): It's more than a shame! Drunk? A drunken lieutenant? Reeling, faltering, staggering? One who draws steel against his own shadow? (Pause.) One naive enough to let in, through his parted lips, a usurper who claimed reason's throne? (Pause.) How strange! How foolish! Should not have overestimated how much I can hold! Every glass I drained contained a regiment for a coup d'état... for the successful coup of the usurper who claimed reason's throne! You know, Iago, I came here after I was expelled from university... well, long story short, let's say I have been such a twat, pardon my French, for falling into the same snare twice!!
IAGO (encouraging Cassio): Aww, Lieutenant! Now you've learned your lesson: drink less liquor next time and prove that you're responsible! Keep calm and carry on! If the general had you fired, I bet his spouse could have you reinstated.
CASSIO (embracing Iago): Thanks, Iago! See you when I've met her! (He waves Iago goodbye.)
6) The famous recitative Iago gives on "that night when I was insomniac and my roomie's dreams were too vivid." And just notice, when Othello hits the nail on the head, how his right-hand man reacts:
SCENE ONE: THE COURTYARD. OTHELLO AND IAGO.
IAGO (concerned): Now, before I got promoted, I was Cassio's orderly. Shared the lieutenant's quarters. So there was this time I couldn't sleep at night... There's only one bed in each officer's quarters. So I stayed awake all night, with Cassio sleeping soundly by my side... Then, suddenly, he grabs me, hugs me tight, as if I were his living plushie... and then I learned he's a sleep-talker. Never noticed it before. Laid his left thigh on my right as he embraced me and sighed and said something like "Let me kiss you, sweetie." "You mean the world to me." "I wish this would never end..." Well, and he kissed me right on the lips. Once, twice, thrice. As the night went on, he went from slight pecks through butterfly kisses to French kisses, one right after the other, all while clutching me tight...
OTHELLO (sternly): Is that an innuendo of his love towards her, or of your love towards...
IAGO (startled, interrupting): Gasp! It's not what you think it is!! Besides, speaking of your wife, she ought to care more for the things she treasures...
OTHELLO (surprised): Really? Has she lost something...?
IAGO: I just have to wonder... Have you ever seen her with a silk handkerchief, spotted with strawberries?
OTHELLO: It was my wedding gift to her. Not lately...
IAGO: But... (Pause.) Haven't you seen Cassio with that handkerchief lately?
7) The grand mal seizure. Or what happens while the Moor is unconscious:
OTHELLO: Now I understand! How could I ever be that naive?! I thought her true, and, after all... She betrayed me, Iago...! She betrayed me! Chaos has come again! (He falls unconscious on the ground, then begins to twitch and toss and writhe violently, suffering from an epileptic seizure. Background music: "On The Run" by Pink Floyd.).
IAGO: Keep on that way, Your Lordship! Twitch! Toss! Writhe! How much I like to see you suffer!
ENTER CASSIO, WHO STANDS, SHOCKED, BY IAGO'S SIDE.
CASSIO (shocked, looking at Othello): Your Lordship! (To Iago.) Iago, since you have always been so helpful... why don't you do anything to save his life?
IAGO (looking concerned, to Cassio): Sorry, Lieutenant. (Shrugging his shoulders.) I have never done first aid to an epileptic before, and thus, all I can say is I don't know what the heck to do! (Pause.) But you, Lieutenant, you are an educated officer, and thus, most certainly in possession of that kind of knowledge.
CASSIO: And I thought I would never tend to an epileptic in the military... (He kneels close to Othello, places the general lying on his right side, and loosens his clothes. Then, he gets up and places himself next to Iago, whom he now addresses.) Good Iago... Will His Lordship, in exchange for such an act of kindness, ever forgive my transgression?
IAGO: Not immediately, Lieutenant. He may not have seen you loosen his clothes, and thus, he would rather trust another than you, believing that someone else saved his life. You should better keep on tending to your duties for today... Cross my heart and hope to die! Eh, Lieutenant?
CASSIO (To himself): This reminds me of something that may have occurred... My memories of that evening are still foggy, but Iago could have been there, all excited, singing and cheering... Or maybe not? That liquor is still playing tricks on me, even after being expelled... (To Iago, enthusiastic and reaching out his hand to the ensign.) So off we go!
EXIT IAGO AND CASSIO, HAND IN HAND. ENTER DESDEMONA. OTHELLO COMES TO.
8) He means the world to me!! Or the Iassio scene that best encapsulates this hatelove:
IAGO, NINJA-STYLE, DRAWS A LITTLE DAGGER AND QUICKLY SLASHES CASSIO IN THE LEFT CALF, THEN DISAPPEARS BACK INTO THE DARKNESS. THE LIEUTENANT, STARTLED, FALLS OVER IN A HEAP.
CASSIO (in pain, shocked, trying to stanch the blood): Aaaah! My leg! Blood! Help! Help! I need somebody! Help! (A loud thud is heard, as he falls down completely unconscious.)
A PAIR OF SOLDIERS ON DUTY ARRIVE, AND THEY ARE SHOCKED BY SEEING CASSIO ON THE FLOOR.
GUARD 1 (kneeling beside Cassio, addressing Guard 2): He's still breathing. Call the surgeon... (To Cassio, gently): Lieutenant, who would ever do this to you?
GUARD 2 LEAVES THE SCENE, RUNNING.
GUARD 1 (giving liquor from his flask to Cassio, pouring it down his throat): Easy now... This will make you feel better. The Good Book says "give strong drink to the perishing..." Hope you survive... and hope this injury does not wreck your career... But I promise to find and to smite the dastardly scoundrel who...
IAGO MAKES A SIGN FOR RODERIGO TO COME, AND THE LORDLING SAUNTERS OVER TO THE ENSIGN'S SIDE.
IAGO (holding Roderigo against the wall, pressing the still bloody dagger against the lordling's throat): Now the word will get around... and I need you to do one final service to me...
RODERIGO: Like... what? (Iago gives him the bloodstained dagger): Right. Make it look like I stabbed Lieutenant Prettyboy. Guess I am expendable... Hope you find yourself another, better henchman.
A WILD BIANCA APPEARS.
BIANCA (in shock): Cassio!!!
CASSIO (awakening, still half-conscious): Bianca... no need to worry... just a flesh wound...
GUARD 1: He's still alive. I sent Kurt for the surgeon, and I'm sure they'll come ASAP. Hope this so-called flesh wound won't make him hang up the uniform.
IAGO SHOVES RODERIGO INTO THE PRESENCE OF GUARD 1 AND BIANCA, WHO KNEELS BESIDE HER LOVER.
IAGO (popping up from the shadows): See, I've found the man who stabbed Lieutenant Cassio. (He takes out his pistol and puts it to the nape of Roderigo's neck, then whispers in his left ear) Adiós, Roddy boy. (He fires the gun, causing the henchman to fall over as if struck by lightning, stone dead). Now lemme have a look... (He comes near Cassio and kneels at his feet). Did you give him any pain relief?
GUARD 1: Eau-de-vie, sir.
BACKGROUND MUSIC: "I SEE THE LIGHT" FROM TANGLED.
IAGO (touching Cassio's left foot, kindly and softly addressing the lieutenant): Do you feel anything, Lieutenant?
CASSIO (shaking his head): It's as if I had no left foot...
IAGO (moving to the other side, touching Cassio's right foot): The right one is at least all right?
CASSIO (nodding and sighing): Guess my career is over. It's been so short-lived... (He falls backwards unconscious, Bianca supporting him.)
IAGO (taking off his doublet and shirt, wrapping the latter as a bandage around Cassio's left calf, speaking kindly and softly): Now easy, Lieutenant. At least this first aid will keep your life saved...
CASSIO (waking up, wincing slightly): Iago... thank you, thank you more than ever. Come close, I have something secret to tell you. (He whispers in Iago's ear) Now I notice... how good you look in the moonlight, without the shirt... (He falls unconscious once more.)
IAGO (smiling in response, sighing): And so do I, Lieutenant.
FOOTSTEPS FROM OFFSTAGE.
BIANCA: Guess Kurt and the surgeon are coming.
IAGO: Take good care of the lieutenant! He... he means the world to me!
BIANCA (singing to Cassio, soothing him as he gets half up, clasping her waist): It's so strange when you're down, and lying on the floor;
how you rise, shake your head, get up, and ask for more.
AS KURT AND THE SURGEON ARRIVE, IAGO LEAVES THE SCENE.
9) The shock of reality. Or, the final scene when the truth has come to light:
OTHELLO (crying his eyes out, though not literally): My beloved lady wife! Bereft of life... How sweetly you sleep, never to awaken! What have I done, Lord of Light, what have I done? (To Cassio) Cassio, you are forgiven. And now you are the general, my heir and successor. Hope your reign takes place in interesting times. Ensure that Iago gets what he deserves. The bloodier the better. (To the audience) Speak of me as I am, nothing extenuate. Of one who loved not wisely, but too well. Stress the internal turmoil that I felt when I believed that my lady had stabbed me in the back, and give rants on the traitor whom I trusted from the start. (To Desdemona's body, sobbing) My beloved lady wife! Bereft of life... How sweetly you sleep, never to awaken! What have I done, Lord of Light, what have I done? Draw a reed at my chest, and the man who once was Othello will surrender; Othello is no more!! Plunge me into the fierce, surging Phlegethon, head first; sear the flesh from my limbs over and over!! I kissed you before I killed you... so now I will kill myself and die upon a kiss! One last kiss!
(He stabs himself in the sternum with his sword, falls on the bed, and quickly dies kissing Desdemona's corpse.)
CASSIO (to Othello): I was afraid this would happen to you, my lord... for no one else should kill someone so great of heart... I do not fully know if I am a worthy successor of such a commander, but anyway I will do my best and give it all, no matter if I am crippled and brokenhearted. After all, 'tis my own fault and my own fault alone... or is it? (He turns towards Iago, with a sinister glare in his eyes.)
ENTER TWO GUARDS.
CASSIO (To Iago): There is no insult offensive enough to describe you! All these innocent souls have suffered and... it's your fault! You will be executed for disgracing the regiment! Though I have to admit that this has been a great story! Guards!
(The guards seize Iago and drag him away.)
IAGO: Come on! Smite me! Castrate me! Tickle me to death! I will not speak a single word!