Goodnight Desdemona (Hello, Comedy)

by Alec Clayton for OLY ARTS

Practically everything William Shakespeare wrote has been subject to parody. Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet) by Ann Marie MacDonald mines some of the bard’s great tragedies to comic effect. English professor Constance Ledbelly decides Othello and Romeo and Juliet were originally written as comedies, and not by Shakespeare. This premise results in her immersion into the lives of many of Shakespeare’s characters: Desdemona, Iago, Othello, Romeo and Juliet. In this farcical reinterpretation of Shakespearean tragedies, the misguided professor first prevents Othello from murdering his wife, then tries to break up the fight between Mercutio and Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet. Director Lauren Love says this results in “comic situations typical of Shakespeare: misdirected affections, mistaken identity and robust physical humor.”

“Ultimately,” she says, “the play reaffirms the importance of creative thinking and the continuous questioning of conventional wisdom. I value that message for our students and audiences, and I’m excited about how smartly funny the play is while being very physically engaging at the same time.”

Auditions for Goodnight Desdemona will be held September 21 to 23 and are open to students and community members alike. The play will be performed in November. “Producing Good Night Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet),” says Love, “will give us a chance to delve into Shakespeare and playwright Anne Marie MacDonald’s genius through laughter, and I think audiences will really enjoy this show.”

Love earned a master of fine arts degree with an emphasis in acting at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and founded a theater company in Chicago. After directing, managing, writing and performing with Theatre Praxis and other off-Loop, Chicago companies, she went back to school to pursue a doctorate from the University of Minneapolis, then came to SPSCC a year ago as the new head of theater. At the end of last season, she said, her students expressed a desire to do Shakespeare. “It is a profound privilege to be a drama professor here at South Puget Sound Community College,” she says. “Producing a show each quarter and teaching acting, theater history and theory and dramatic literature means I can keep learning with my students about the value of live performance.”

What: Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet)

Where: Kenneth J Minnaert Center for the Arts,
South Puget Sound Community College,
2011 Mottman Rd. SW, Olympia

When: 7 p.m. Thursday – Saturday, Nov. 16-18;
2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 19

How much: free – $10

Learn more: 360-596-5200 | SPSCC