"No, you're it."

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Goodnight Desdemona was a ridiculously funny play...and I really want to see it performed. While I've seen the whole 80's style "character gets somehow pulled into a work of fiction" thing countless times, Macdonald's play really offers much more. Through this device MacDonald gives us an interesting look at several well known literary characters. It was a perfect choice for a writing about literature, as this particular blog is actually writing about literature that was written about literature.

I think my favorite thing was the way MacDonald exaggerated the main traits of each of the characters. Desdemona is a border-line psychotic, Romeo instantly falls in love with anyone and Juliet is in love with death. I love how the plot unfolds, keeping these characteristics in mind, taking seemingly rational steps in light of Constance's revelations. It's especially entertaining to read with the mix of modern language, and direct quotes. Also, I just loved the Ghost responding "No, you're it" when Constance says "Yorick," nothing like a terrible pun.  

The one thing that was difficult to pick up on is the links between the characters. The same actors are supposed to play some of the Shakespearian characters, as well as the real-life characters, Tybalt, Othello and the proffessor are the same actor for example. I think this would be a lot more significant in an actual production, rather than reading it. I tried to keep it in mind, but it would be far easier to see, than to read.    


Carissa Altier said:

You're right, the whole "character gets pulled into a work of fiction thing" is a little overdone; however, it doesn't mean that we can't enjoy it. :) What did you think about the ending? "Waking back up after a dream" seems to be even more cheesy stereotypical for me. Did the ending work for you, or do you think she could have done something more original?

Aja Hannah said:

I also had trouble with who was acting it. I realized/remembered towards the end of the play that it would be the some of the same people.

I thought it would be awkward for Constance to see a man like Claude Night play Othello or Tybalt, but I guess not. I guess she wasn't even supposed to see this connection.

I enjoyed though how they made the man who played the professor play Juliet's nurse like they would have done comically for real Shakespeare plays.

DavidWilbanks Author Profile Page said:

Aja- I noticed that Night would also play Juliet's nurse, and found it funny. It also made me think of how some of the actresses would be playing male's in it, I'm not 100% positive on this (I left my book in my car...and I looked online aparently in some productions they have different actors for every role...which I feel is a bit wrong) but I think that Juliet is also "Cyprus Soldier" in Othello's world and Desdemona is Mercutio. This is an interesting role-reversal, on the Elizabethan theater where men played women.
Carissa- I agree that MacDonald did really well with the "80's sucked into a work of fiction" thing, I honestly think she did it in a far more meaningful way than a whole lot of movies from around the same era. The ending is really a product of the premise. At the end, reality has to return. (Or it can just end with the main character partying in her room with all the muppets from her fantasy world....yes, I'm old.) This is kind of why it seems abrupt. Despite this, I really can't determine what to do with an alternate ending. There has to be some sort of return to reality, and short having her wake up in an asylum for having, while in a dissociated delusional state, accosted random people ranting in iambic pentameter, I don't really see what else MacDonald could have done.

Carissa Altizer said:

Very true. She does need to return to reality at some point. Personally, I think the idea of her playing with Juliet and Desdemona muppets sounds like a fabulous idea! It would be so much funnier than the groggy "Where am I? Where did this fabulous gold pen come from? How much can I sell it for on e-bay?" take that concludes the whole journey. Perhaps you should take a stab at director on this one? I bet it would be funnier...

DavidWilbanks Author Profile Page said:

First off, everything i.e. movies/plays/musicals/life would be far better with at least half the class replaced by muppets.....and possibly David Bowie. (I hope you got that the muppets ending was a reference to Labyrinth, an 80's movie that used the sucked into a book thing, and ended like that....otherwise, I'm just old.)
Second, they do have more of an ending than that in the stage directions, with the characters reentering with mixed bits from their different costumes. This doesn't compare to muppets, but it is something at least.

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Carissa Altizer on "No, you're it." : Very true. She does need to r
DavidWilbanks on "No, you're it." : Aja- I noticed that Night woul
Aja Hannah on "No, you're it." : I also had trouble with who wa
Carissa Altier on "No, you're it." : You're right, the whole "chara