Good night Desdemona (Good morning Juliet), by Canadian playwright, novelist, actor, and broadcast journalist Ann-Marie MacDonald, is about a Queen’s U English Literature Professor, Constance Ledbelly, goes on a journey through Shakespeare’s plays Romeo and Juliet and Othello goes on a path of self discovery.
Constance proves to be a bit of a scatter brained girl, constantly forgetting where she put her green ball point pen and getting interrupted and intimated by students and her boss, Claude Night. The reader quickly finds out that Night takes credit for Constance’s work, and she willing lets him do this. (We are led to believe it was her idea, but he doesn’t like that he must type them out and wants her to learn how to type to make the whole ordeal easier for him.)
She thinks that her timid personality is why people believe she’s a crack pot, and don’t believe her theory about Romeo and Juliet and Othello originally suppose to be comedies. Constance believes that the plays were meant to be comedies, and because they lack the Fool that other Shakespeare plays have that it fell short of being considered a comedy. She gets this theory from the Gustav Manuscript, which has been undecipherable for hundreds of years.
Constance takes a journey through the two plays, and embarks on a journey of self discovery unlike any I have seen in a play before.
As mentioned above: this is actually a play. But, I read it in it’s book form. The set up did obviously remind me of other scripts written in book form, and studied by English classes in any and all of the high schools you could come across, I actually really enjoyed this story.
In High School, I had to read Romeo and Juliet and The Diary Of Anne Frank and (for whatever reason) wasn’t a huge fan of either pieces of work. I will admit: going into this I was skeptical.
But, I was delightfully relieved as the tale started to unfold just how much I was enjoying it. The way Juliet and Desdemona were portrayed were so unlike the way they are portrayed in the original plays, and truly made me wonder how Shakespeare meant for these women to come across to the reader.
If you ever have the chance, to read or see this play, DO IT!