Mike Tyson takes a shot at playing Othello

It might bring new meaning to the line "lend me your ears", but former boxer Tyson said he wants to try his skills at Shakespeare.

The one-time heavyweight champion of the world has been touring his autobiographical solo show, Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth – directed by Spike Lee – around the US and seems to have picked up a taste for the stage.

Speaking to the New York Daily News, the 46-year-old asked: "Wouldn't Shakespeare be awesome?" before pointing to one part in particular: "That black guy … could you imagine me in Othello?"

However, Tyson recognised he might need some training before tackling one of the most iconic roles in the theatrical canon: "Anything you give me time to prepare, I can do," he said. "I don't think I am ready for that yet, but I would like to try."

In addition to his recent one-man show, which the New York Times described as "a lazily structured biographical tour even for [his fans]", Tyson has turned up in the hit film The Hangover, playing himself, and in Law and Order as a victim of child abuse who took revenge on his abusers.

The boxer was typically forthright in appraising his performance. "My career as an actor has blossomed," he said. "I never considered myself a comedian or actor, even though I was in movies and shows helping out friends … a lot of my friends are actors and directors and they say: 'Mike, we need you to concentrate and take it seriously.' They say my skills are horrible, but I have the natural timings for it. I am working on my skills." – © Guardian News and Media 2013 

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Matt Trueman
Matt Trueman works from London. Freelance theatre critic and journalist. Matt Trueman has over 16694 followers on Twitter.

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