CCPA actors fall down a Shakespearian rabbit hole

Ann-Marie MacDonald’s Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet) makes for chaotic theatre fun

By Felicia Santarossa Monday Magazine contributor

Get sucked into Shakespeare, Dec. 11-14 as the Canadian College of Performing Arts takes audiences down an Elizabethan rabbit hole with the Ann-Marie MacDonald comedy Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet).

Audiences follow modern-day doctoral student Constantine Ledbelly arguing in her thesis, that Othello and Romeo and Juliet are not meant to be tragedies, then watch her drawn into the worlds of those works. Once Constance finds herself in this other universe of Shakespeare’s plays, she even begins to speak like the Bard’s characters.

Chaos ensues as the increasingly Shakespearean comedy progresses.

“There’s disguise, and they eavesdrop on one another, it’s quite presentational in the style,” says guest director Janet Munsil. “It’s a really smart play, but it’s really goofy and fun to work on. It’s got a nice balance of ideas on authorship and identity, but also kind of silly fun with what we think of as Shakespearean theatre,” she adds.

The cast of seven second-year CCPA students play 16 characters, many of whom appear in the modern world then reappear in slightly altered form in the Shakespearean world.

Munsil appreciates the students’ boundless energy and dedication to their work. “It makes it really fun to work on a fun play, they’re really able to explore this in a playful way, but also investigate the script in a deeper, more analytical way.”

The story presents many surprises and clever threads to follow, she says.

“I’m uncovering things all the time as I read it, which I think is why this play is such a popular piece and it’s been around since the late 80s,” she says. “I think that’s because it has enough interest and depth to it, even though it feels like on the surface it’s a silly comedy.”

Goodnight Desdemona plays Dec. 11 and 13 at 7:30 p.m. at the CCPA performance hall, 1701 Elgin Rd.

A relaxed performance, open to all but accessible for patrons who may find the regular theatre setting challenging, is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 14.

Tickets for all shows are available online at eventbrite.ca.



editor@mondaymag.com

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