Out of the darkness rises one lonely note. Then, in a flurry of
arms, faces and combined harmonies, the lights are brought up and a
triangle of tragedy is illuminated. In one corner, Juliet prepares
to shatter her life and her bosom with Romeo’s dagger. In the
other, Othello gravely stands over the murdered Desdemona, and in
the center, Constance, a doctoral student struggling to find
herself, stands behind the desk that encompasses the entirety of
the last 10 years of her life. As the play unfolds, the bond
between the three women unfolds.
Ann-Marie MacDoanald’s “Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning
Juliet)” is a play full of witticism in blank verse. When
Constance, a student convinced that Shakespeare stole the plot
lines of both “Romeo and Juliet” and “Othello,” and by the deletion
of the wise fool turned both stories from comedies into tragedies,
is sucked into both plays, her presence keeps both women alive,
unbottling a slue of absurd situations. While the focus of the play
is two of Shakespeare’s most tear-wrenching tragedies, when death
is deleted. the laughter caused by the clever creation and
deliverance of the dialogue is at points almost unbearable.
Underneath the good humor though, is a touching story of one
woman’s self realization and the two fictitious characters who, in
being saved from death, teach the main character about life.
From the chorus who serve as both banner bearers and
background music to the strong and sweet Constance, the play is
solid from the time the actors take the stage to their final bow.
When doing Shakespeare, dialogue can sometimes get lost in
translation, but the members of this cast move between their lines
in Old English and their lines spoken in modern tongue seamlessly.
By the end, it seems more natural to hear dialogue spoken in verse.
Also, the set, props, lighting and costumes all add to the
fantastical atmosphere of the play.
The cast of “Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet)” will
return to the stage of the Trueblood Theatre this weekend for their
last four performances and in the opinion of this wise fool, it is
an experience not to be missed.
Rating: 4 stars