“Goodnight Desdemona” restores classic Shakespeare characters

Evi Arthur

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Ashlyn Elliott and Zia Hillocks (Juliet’s Nurse and Juliet, respectively) discuss Juliet’s new marriage to Romeo. Photo by Evi Arthur.

“Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet)” is a parody of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and Othello which are both, if you have not read them, rife with unnecessary death and people who just cannot seem to mind their own business. In this feminist re-write, the main character, Constance, is an assistant professor at Queen’s University who is thrown into the worlds of Shakespeare’s “Othello” and “Romeo and Juliet.” Although she tries to stop the main deaths in each story by solving the problems before they escalate, things go awry in ways she never expected.

I loved this play. It threw some of Shakespeare’s more misogynistic ideas out the window, but kept the themes that we continue to enjoy today. All of the characters in the plays were played by women, a complete reversal from how Shakespeare’s plays were originally performed.

The set was gorgeous, and I found the transitions between storylines very cool and creative. The stage was fairly small but the crew really made the best of what they had. I also found the acting to be phenomenal, with many of the actors bringing so much life to characters I was already so familiar with.

Sticking to true Shakespearean fashion, the play is full of thinly veiled sexual innuendos and crude humor that was exceedingly hilarious. “Goodnight Desdemona” even goes further to discuss themes such as gender fluidity and sexual orientation with classic characters who are frequently cross-dressing and falling in love with each other. Desdemona said it best: “Doth no one sail straight around here?”

With crude jokes that’ll make you squirm in your seat and inside jokes that will bring you back to high school english class, “Goodnight Desdemona” will keep you entertained and leave you with a few powerful messages. The world is not in black and white, but shades of grey, and that we are in charge of our own fate.

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