Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet)

By AGood Night Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet) Posternn-Marie MacDonald

​Directed by: Denis Johnston

Performances: March 24-27, 1998

Venue: Theatre of the Arts, Modern Languages Building


Another Coach House play, Ann-Marie MacDonald’s Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet), mixes styles with uproarious and provocative results.  It is the story of a mousy Queen’s University lecturer, Constance Ledbelly, whose progress on her long-delayed PhD thesis is impeded by the scholarly ghost-writing she provides for Professor Claude Knight, the object of her unrequited love.  Indeed, Constance has become a laughingstock in her small academic circle because of her obsession with an oddball literary theory: that Othello and Romeo and Juliet are hasty rewrites of earlier (and now lost) comedies.  She has a Renaissance alchemist’s manuscript which will surely prove she’s right - if only she could decode it.  But Connie’s world is shattered when her Knight runs off with his star graduate student.  Like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, Constance is then whisked away to far-off lands inhabited by strange people - who look a lot like some of the folks back at Queen’s.

In the Cyprus of Othello, Constance exposes Iago’s treachery, and thus earns the eternal gratitude of the Moor and his bride.  But Desdemona, far from the simpering victim we might expect, turns out to be a headstrong warrior who is equally vulnerable to Iago’s slanders.  As the jealous Desdemona prepares to take her revenge, a second Jungian tornado whirls Constance into the middle of Shakespeare’s most famous street fight.  There, disguised as a boy, she saves Romeo and Tybalt by disclosing their new kinship - and is plunged into a new round of unforeseen consequences.  All the while Constance ransacks the Shakespearean plays for clues as to who the “real” author is, and where the Wise Fool might be who could turn these plays to comedy.

First produced in 1988, Goodnight Desdemona has recently attracted new productions in both professional and university theatres.  And no wonder.  The play is both delightfully literate and engagingly lowbrow, provoking laughter with both subtle Shakespearean allusions and irresistibly bad puns.  Beyond the story of our plucky heroine, and beyond some ingenious Shakespearean burlesque, lies a feminist allegory accessible to even the most porcine or male chauvinists.  In the end, as a Prologue promises, “mingling and unmingling opposites/transform base metal into precious gold”.  Constance learns that she is the author of her own life, and a fool wise enough to laugh at her own small tragedies.  It is her own mettle which is transformed.

Direction & Design

Director - Denis Johnston

Set Design  - William Chesney

Costume Design - Jocelyne Sobeski

Lighting Design - Aisling Sampson

Technical Director/Theatre of the Arts - Scott Spidell

Technical Director/Humanities Theatre - Peter Carette

Theatre Centre Manager - Peter Houston

Dramatis Personae

Juliet/Jill - Stacey Bartlett

Chorus/Ghost - Dale Boyer

Constance Ledbelly - Emily Oriold

Desdemona/Ramona - Orla Roantree

Mercutio/Servant - Trevor Copp

Iago - Bart Cormier

Tybalt/Soldier - Brad Goddard

Romeo - Ben Janzen

Professor Night/Othello/Nurse - Parnelli Parnes

Faculty and Staff

William Chadwick 

Bill Poole

William Chesney

Jocelyne Sobeski

Joel Greenberg

Scott Spidell

Joyce Hahn

Jill Tomasson Goodwin

Maarten van Dijk

Visiting Artists

James Binkley

Marylu Moyer

Lloy Coutts

Jennifer O’Connor

Stephen Degenstein

Adam Qualter

Anne-Marie Donovan

Aisling Sampson

Denis Johnston

Meg Westley


 Stage Manager - Michael Haltrecht

 Assistant Stage Managers - Melanie Klodt, Marla Nicholls, Trina Sookhai

Student Production Manager - Michael Haltrecht

Assistant Technical Director - Angela Marshall

Head of Wardrobe Crew - Julie Moore

Wardrobe Crew - Tammy Casey, Jennifer Duncan, Meghan Murtha

Head of Carpentry - Chris Goddard

Head of Lighting - Nancy McCune

Carpentry/Lighting Crew - Dale Boyer, Norm Friend, Paul Moukperian

Head of Properties - Jenna Pollard

Properties Crew - Drama 244 Class

Head of Sound - Daryl Kropf

Scenic Painting Crew - Drama 244 Class

Head of Publicity - Joyce Hahn

House Manager - Peter Houston

Publicity/Front of House Assistant -  Allyson Hoffman

Photography - Nancy McCune, Maria Velitchkova

Fight Choreography/Fight Captains - Trevor Copp, Brad Goddard

Fight Consultant - Joel Harris

Dance Choreography - Joel Greenberg

Magic Consultant - David Ben (The Conjuror)

Rehearsal Deputy - Bart Cormier

Dramaturgical Assistant - Ingrid Keenan

Drama 244 Class

Dale Boyer

Daryl Kropf

Jennifer Duncan

Nancy McCune

Norm Friend

Julie Moore

Chris Goddard

Paul Moukperian

Allyson Hoffman

Meghan Murtha

Melanie Klodt

Jenna Pollard

Thank You to ...

Sharon Morrice

Michael Purves-Smith

Westfield Heritage Village

Carl Wylie, Centre in the Square