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Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet) Paperback – September 8, 1998


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 88 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press (September 8, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802135773
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802135773
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.1 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #407,466 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Clever, pointed and entertaining… This play is one of the wildest and wooliest feminist reappraisals that the theatre has seen, and one of the most intellectually ambitious.” The Globe and Mail

“Stratford-upon-Acid: that’s where MacDonald’s dizzying Goodnight Desdemona lives…MacDonald traipses through the canon with glee.... Lots of clever fun.” The Village Voice

"A tour de force.... Ann-Marie delivers her message with tremendous wit, breathtaking wordplay and great gusts of knee-slapping bread comedy." The Ottawa Citizen

"Magical.... An uproarious and smart comedy." Pittsburgh Press


--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Inside Flap

What would happen if Juliet's and Desdemona's death sentences were reprieved?In this exuberant revision of Shakespeare's Othello and Romeo and Juliet, Constance Ledbelly, a dusty academic, deciphers a cryptic manuscript she believes to be the original source for the tragedies, and is transported into the plays themselves. She visits Juliet and Desdemona, has a hand in saving them from death and finds out what they are all about. In true Shakespearean spirit, Constance plunders the plays and creates something new, all the while engaging in a personal voyage of self-discovery. With an abundance of twists, fights, dances, seductions and wild surprises, the play is an absolute joy. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

Very, very much recommended for high school theater.
Sarah
It borrows from the best of Shakespeare's comedy, complete with a breeches role.
H. Wood
It is witty and clever with just enough tongue-in-cheek.
J. Frost

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Karen on August 19, 1999
Format: Paperback
From all the non-musical plays I've heard, seen, or read, this play is the most inventive, most creative, most hilarious play I've ever read. Macdonald's unexpected twists and turns of Shakespeare's OTHELLO and ROMEO AND JULIET made me howl with laughter almost all the way through. Act I is a bit bland, but understanding that Macdonald wanted to set the whole story as to what would come ahead. But when Acts II and III come along, you'll howl with laughter when you see lots of sex jokes, cross dressing, and straight madness. I would compare it to Japanese anime's RANMA 1/2, to anyone who is familiar with it. I don't want to spoil the story, so I won't type a synopsis, but I will tell you, don't pass this play up because you won't know what you're missing!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By "papayabanana" on October 25, 2001
Format: Paperback
"Goodnight, Desdemona (Good Morning, Juliet)" is the funniest play I have ever read or seen. I am currently playing Constance in a high school production of the play, and the more we go along, the more we discover about the play. Upon first reading, it is an absolutely hilarious twist of Shakespeare's "Othello" and "Romeo and Juliet." But reading it a second, and even a third time will reveal subtle innuendos and wordings (warning: LOTS of sexual innuendos in this play!) that contain so much wit and humour that your respect for Anne-Marie MacDonald will grow with every scene. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. If you can familiarize yourself with the plots of both "Othello" and "Romeo and Juliet" before reading or seeing the play, then your enjoyment will increase, because you will have a basic understanding of how the characters have been re-interpreted. OH MY GOODNESS -- READ THIS PLAY!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By D. J. Cole on January 6, 2005
Format: Paperback
Two reviewers from HS drama clubs, and one comparison to Japanese anime. Don't let that mislead you into thinking this is some lightweight juvenile fluff. It is more in the line of Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead. As someone who has loved reading and watching Shakespeare's plays for over 35 years, I am delighted to see Ann-Marie MacDonald not only play with Shakespeare but do it intelligently. Amidst the linguistic and theatric whimsey there are some true and serious observations and the best explanation yet of why some characters in Shakespeare's tragedys are such idiots. Who says learning can't be great fun?
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Format: Paperback
Fate works via mysterious coincidences. I first heard of Ann-Marie MacDonald when I saw her video interview at Alex Colville's retrospective in Toronto's AGO. I fell (platonically, but passionately) in love from the first sight. She is a marvelous actress and her "The animals are not innocent. They have their own mysterious agenda." performance was so much more convincing because it reflected my own feelings about Colville's representation of dogs and crows. I immediately got on the Amazon and ordered two of her books and this play. I did right!
The heroine, a mousy, besotted, failure-prone assistant-prof of English lit trying to get her PhD by decyphering an obscure Elizabethan MS, which (she believes!) will prove Shakespeare "borrowed" two comedies and turned them into tragedies, thereby producing Otello and Romeo and Juliet. She also believes this feat will bring her fame, fortune, tenure, and the heart of her Prof. When Prof's loves labors prove to be lost where she is concerned, she's desperate. On the verge of a major breakdown, perhaps suicide, occult powers intervene and she miraculously finds herself in Otello and in Romeo and Juliet-befriending Desdemona, despising Iago, avoiding Tybalt, placating both Romeo and Mercutio, being romantically pursued by both Romeo and Juliet, etc., etc. This a real Shakespearean sitcom of errors, rolling along at break-neck speed.
The pros: The literary intelligence and erudition of Ann-Marie MacDonald shines throughout. She juggles Shakespeare's lines, adapts them to her own delightful and hilarious purposes and interspaces them with her own writing, some contemporary but some pseudo-Elizabethan.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sarah on May 1, 2004
Format: Paperback
Just finished a production of this at our school - absolutely halarious. Very, very much recommended for high school theater. Absolutely great
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By 1morechapter.com on November 18, 2009
Format: Paperback
Good Night Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet) is hilariously fun. Winner of the 1990 Governor General's Award for Drama and written by the author of Fall on Your Knees, this play takes the main character, Constance, and puts her in the middle of Othello and Romeo and Juliet with very funny results. Plot lines are changed, lines rearranged, and we get to really know the players as never before.

If you're familiar with both plays you will be in stitches in parts. Lines from the original plays are in italics to help the reader know the difference between those lines and MacDonald's. Even MacDonald's are written in iambic pentameter.

Highly recommended -- especially for lovers of Shakespeare or Canadian literature/drama.
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By H. Wood on September 26, 2007
Format: Paperback
I love, love, LOVE this play.

It is wrought with the same care and cleverness of the Bard Himself. It is a Cinderella story with a feminist twist, with oodles of authentic Shakespeare woven right in. It borrows from the best of Shakespeare's comedy, complete with a breeches role.

Every single character is absolutely hilarious and drawn with a deft hand.

Fabulous.
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