(Good Morning Juliet)

by Anne-Marie MacDonald

directed by Sarah Rodgers

A United Players of Vancouver production

at Jericho Arts Centre

January 25 - February 17, 2019






Spotlight Article by Sabrina Furminger


Is it possible that we have William Shakespeare all wrong – that two of his most famous tragedies are, in fact, comedies in disguise? This is the starting point for Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet), Ann-Marie MacDonald’s brilliantly bawdy and breathlessly hilarious play that pits a beleaguered academic against two Shakespearean heroines who are far more rowdy than the Bard ever led us to believe.

Constance Ledbelly is an academic Don Quixote, and her windmill is the steadfast belief that Romeo and Juliet and Othello aren’t tragedies at all, but comedies pilfered by the Bard and robbed of their wise fools. Constance’s belief has made her something of a laughingstock at Queen’s University, where she works on her Shakespeare thesis and ghostwrites papers for Professor Night, the object of her affection.

Constance has held tight to her belief for eons, but after learning that Professor Night has accepted a position in Oxford that she herself coveted (and he’s popping the question to a Rhodes Scholar named Ramona to boot), she angrily casts her beloved thesis and pen into the wastebasket – and tumbles in after them, and into the action of Othello!

From there, Constance finds herself in invigorating, hilarious, and potentially life-threatening interactions with Othello, Iago, and Desdemona, the last of whom is a headstrong warrior who (thanks to some prodding from Iago) comes to believe that Constance is a witch with designs on Othello – and Constance barely has a chance to sort it all out before she’s catapulted into 1500s Verona, and into a dizzying love triangle with a teenage boy named Romeo and a teenage girl named Juliet!

Will Constance make it out alive? Will she discover the truth about Shakespeare, about these plays, about these randy women, and about herself? United Players of Vancouver invites audiences to join them on this funny and fantastical journey for answers into an academic’s magic wastebasket.

Director Sarah Rodgers sits at the helm of United Players’ production of Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet). “I’m old enough to remember when this play was first was produced, and it made a huge splash in Canadian theatre,” recalls Rodgers. At the time of its premiere in 1988, MacDonald’s script was “the talk of the town” because “it had incredible roles for women, and it had an incredibly empowering journey for the lead role,” she says. “There was incredible wit, and language. It was a great challenge for female actresses on all levels.”

The play offers fresh takes on two of Shakespeare’s most iconic female characters. “In Desdemona, MacDonald creates an incredibly strong woman, and a warrior,” says Rodgers. “She makes Desdemona adventurous, a warrior herself, somebody that could be Othello’s lieutenant.” As for Juliet, “she’s a scream,” enthuses Rodgers. “She’s outrageous, and this is the bravery of the writing because MacDonald really explores the sexuality and sensuality of this young woman.”

Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet) is a treat for diehard Shakespeare fans and neophytes alike, according to Rodgers, who is utilizing a thrust style of stage and live music for the scene transitions in order to transport fans back to 16th century Europe. The play “has an elevated style to the comedy. It needs to be incredibly precise, and clean,” says Rodgers. “I think people are drawn to it because of the humour and the bawdiness, but when you get inside it, it’s honestly like doing a Feydeau farce. It’s that difficult, and that exciting.”


United Players’ production of Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet) features Zosia Cassie as Constance, Olesia Shewchuk as Desdemona/Mercutio/Servant, Danielle Klaudt as Juliet/Student/Soldier, Tre Cotten as Othello/Tybalt/Professor, Vincent Keats as Romeo/Iago/Ghost, and Matthias Falvai as Chorus. 

The production team includes Sarah Rodgers (Director), Andree Karas (Artistic Director), Linda Begg (Producer/Props), Matthias Falvai (Musical Director), Brian Ball (Set Designer), Catherine E. Carr (Costume Designer), Darren Hales (Lighting Designer), Derek Metz (Fight Choreographer), Olesia Shewchuk (Choreographer), Kazz Leskard (Assistant Director), Heather Barr (Stage Manager), Chris Bayne (Head Carpenter), Michael Groberman (Dramaturg/Researcher), and Mariana Munoz (Properties Assistant/Assistant Stage Manager). 


Sarah Rodgers is a dynamic actor and director who received a Master of Fine Arts from the University of British Columbia in 2003. For United Players, Sarah has directed The Feigned Courtesans, The Impromptu of Outremont, Rosmersholm, The Old Curiosity Shop, A Room with a View, and Mr. Foote’s Other Leg. Other directing highlights include Billy Bishop Goes to War (UBC/Arts Club Theatre/Persephone), which received a Jessie Richardson Award for Outstanding Direction in Large Theatre; The Thirteenth Chair (Studio 58); The Duchess (UBC); Educating Rita (WCT); Godspell, A Christmas Carol (Pacific Theatre); Sisters (The Gateway Theatre) Anything Goes, The Music Man, How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying (Theatre Under the Stars).


Ann-Marie MacDonald (born October 29, 1958) is a Canadian playwright, novelist, actress and broadcast host. MacDonald won the Commonwealth Writers Prize for her first novel, Fall on Your Knees, which was selected as a "pick" for Oprah Winfrey's Book Club. She received the Governor General's Award for Drama, the Floyd S. Chalmers Canadian Play Award and the Canadian Authors Association Award for her play, Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning, Juliet).

MacDonald hosted the CBC documentary series Life and Times for seven seasons and CBC's flagship documentary program Doc Zone for eight. Her 2003 novel, The Way the Crow Flies, was partly inspired by the Steven Truscott case. Her novel Adult Onset was released in 2014. She was the inaugural Mordecai Richler Reading Room Writer in Residence at Concordia University, and she coaches students in the Acting and Playwriting Programs at the National Theatre School of Canada.

-With files from Wikipedia

BOOK YOUR TICKETS FOR Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet) NOW

At the Jericho Arts Centre - 1675 Discovery (near Jericho Beach)

January 25 - February 17, 2019

Thursday through Sunday, at 8 pm
(2pm only on February 3, 10 & 17)

$14 Preview: January 24
Talkback: January 31

Matinees: Februay 3, 10 & 17 at 2pm
(no evening performances on those dates)

Single Tickets: $22 - $28

Jericho Arts Centre

1675 Discovery Street, Vancouver, B.C. V6R 4K5

TICKETS:Online or call 604 224 8007, ext. 2

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