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The Blue & Gray Press | September 24, 2017

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UMW Theater Performs Shakespeare Mash-Up

BY MAIRIN MARTIN

“Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet)” as performed by Mary Washington’s department of theatre and dance and directed by guest director Marc Williams, is a hilarious take on two classic Shakespearean pieces.

However, the play is not merely a farce. It is a fresh and funny look at “Romeo and Juliet” and “Othello” as seen through the eyes of Constance Leadbelly.

Constance, played endearingly by Senior Helena Spadecene, is a socially awkward associate professor in a quirky red tam-o-shantern.
The play follows her story, as she works tirelessly to receive her doctorate and transcribe a mysterious manuscript which she is convinced will unlock the secrets behind Shakespeare’s two great tragic heroines.

Through the magical forces of a shrouded chorus, Constance is transported one night—on the verge of giving up completely—into the world of the plays themselves.

While in “Othello,” Constance discovers Desdemona, played delightfully by Katie Robinson, to be a rough and tumble tomboy with a violent streak and a taste for violence and battle. This Desdemona, who swaggers across the stage and speaks wistfully of the Amazonians, defies her previously portrayed image as the helpless victim of fate.

In “Romeo and Juliet,” Constance—appearing as Constantine who is immediately mistaken for a man—finds that the two star-crossed lovers are nothing more than over-sexed whining children, as opposed to the heroes of romance we have come to know. Played by sophomore Samantha Luffy and junior Cameron Doucette, the two well-known characters are—like all melodramatic 13-year-olds—ridiculous and hilarious in their desperation for passion.
Chaos and uproarious comedy ensues as both Juliet and Romeo fall in love with the “fair Grecian lad” and cross-dress to try to win him/her over.

On her travels through times and worlds, Constance is truly on a journey of self-discovery.

By the end of the play she has discovered greater truths about herself, as well as shared a lip-lock with almost every character in “Romeo and Juliet.” As she says: “there must be something in the air in Verona.”

The play is full of brilliantly crafted humor and intrigue with an extremely talented cast. The show is a true delight and is filled with laughs from the beginning to the end— including a scene with the cast in period costume doing something between a shimmy and a minuet to a baroque cover of Outkast’s “Hey Ya.”

However, even if these words have done nothing to entice you to go, it’s still worth checking out the men in tights and hot pants.

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