Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet) by Ann Marie MacDonald Directed by Jill Cross


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The Play

Shakespeare... with a twist!

What would Shakespeare's famous character really be like? What would you say if you came face to face with Othello or Romeo? This is the question for Constance Ledbelly a young English teacher, who is transported into the worlds of "Othello" and "Romeo and Juliet" with hilarious results. Can she prove that the bard really intended different endings for his most famous tragedies?

Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet) is the story of a mousy young English teacher named Constance Ledbelly. Unlucky in love and frustrated in her work, Constance finds herself hurled into a most unlikely series of adventures, in the great comic tradition of Alice in Wonderland or The Wizard of Oz. The play first appeared in Toronto in 1988 and was an instant success, spawning many subsequent productions and winning the Governor-General's Award for Drama.

At the heart of the play is not Shakespeare, but someone who could easily be mistaken for a rather ordinary woman. She thinks she's a weakling, and perhaps she is in some ways. But she has strong ideas and a strong sense of right and wrong, and she will not rest until her questions are answered and her quest fulfilled. As with all good comedies, the seriousness of her purpose stays with you long after the laughter is forgotten.

The Playwright

Ann-Marie MacDonald has become well known as the author of the best-selling novel " Fall on Your Knees", that established her as a new star in Canadian literature. Few of her readers know that she came from a theatre background. An actor trained at the National Theatre School of Canada and a co-founder of Nightwood Theatre, Toronto's foremost feminist company. Only a writer who thoroughly loves and understands Shakespeare could burlesque the Bard with such skill.

The Director

Jill Cross Jill has directed many plays for the Villanova Players over the years, and particularly likes directing the 'classics' such as Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream (1999) and Oscar Wilde's A Woman of No Importance (1998). The last play Jill directed was the sentimental favourite To Kill a Mockingbird (2005). She last appeared on the VP stage as Vera in Stepping Out (2006).

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The Cast

Character Actor
Desdemona Carissa Zygis Carissa last appeared onstage for the Players in Secret Bridesmaids' Business (2005) as 'say it like it is' Lucy, having earlier that year operated Sound FX for The Shifting Heart. Last year she leapt into the demanding role of Stage Manager for Over the Top With Jim (2006), but strangely enough is now very happy and excited to be back under the safety of the lights as one of Shakespeare's most famous and divine female characters (though this time with a difference), Desdemona.
Othello Suresh Poonavaala Suresh began his affair with the stage only recently, playing Anish Das in Tom Stoppard's Indian Ink (2006). He was then delighted to take on the role of Dr Ox in Rod Thompson's adaptation of Jule's Verne's novella Dr Ox: The Experiment (2006). By day Suresh works as a computer engineer, trains in martial arts, yoga, and Indian classical music and hopes to find salvation music and the arts. He most enjoys time with nature, good friends, and family.
Juliet Anthea Lock Anthea's efforts were last seen on the VP's stage when she directed Over the River and Through the Woods (2007), as Lyne in Stepping Out (2006), and as Gay Lunn in Over the Top with Jim (2006). Last year Anthea took part in Backbone Youth Arts' developmental programme 'Fragments' as an emerging director staging Garnett's Store. This year will see Anthea's first professional directing gig with the West End Community House Drama Group's Heavenly Creatures.
Romeo Dean Patrick Dean Patrick has been a member of the Players for four years now and has performed in Lend Me a Tenor (2004), The Shifting Heart (2005), and Lottie ' The Musical (2005). Other recent productions he's appeared in have been Garnett's Store with Backbone Youth Arts and last year's Macbeth: The Rock Opera. Dean is very excited about performing alongside his wonderful fianc'e Anthea (Juliet) in this production.
Constance Ledbelly Jane Binstead Jane jumped at the chance to play a modern gal who gets to know the characters in two of Shakespeare's great tragedies - or would be comedies' For Jane, last seen on stage in a bridal gown in Secret Bridesmaids' Business (2005), the worlds within this play are even more bizarre, and more fun! Jane has also performed in VP's A Midsummer Night's Dream (1998), Arms and the Man (2002), The Busybody and 'Allo 'Allo (2003), and As You Like It (2004).
Iago Michael Byrnes Before joining the Villanova Players, Michael had worked with amateur theatre groups in towns such as Rockhampton, Gympie, and Stanthorpe. His first role for VP was in Stage Door (1994), quickly followed by Harp in the South (1995). Recently he's enjoyed roles in Dr Ox: The Experiment (2006), Lottie ' The Musical (2005), Lend Me a Tenor (2004) and as Reverend Tooker in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (2004). The Players have also been fortunate to see Michael on both Management and Casting committees over the years.
Tybalt Robert Gettons Robert Gettons began acting at High School, then joined the Wondai Amateur Theatrical Society. He has been involved in all aspects of VP's productions since joining in the mid 80s, with recent onstage appearances in plays including To Kill A Mockingbird (2005), Lend Me A Tenor (2004), and A Midsummer Night's Dream (1999). Other groups Robert has worked with include St Luke's Theatrical Society, API Theatre and The Ignatians.
Ghost, Chorus Rod Thompson Rod last appeared on the VP stage as Van Tricasse, Bergomaster of Quiquendone, in his adaptation of Jules Verne's short story Dr Ox: The Experiment (2006). He also played the prosecuting attorney in To Kill a Mockingbird (2005), and audiences might remember his appearance as the squeeze-box player in 'Allo 'Allo (2003). Previous set designs include Breaker Morant (1987) and his numerous directorial ventures have included Two Weeks with the Queen (1998), Dancing at Lughnasa (1999), as well as co-directing the unforgettable The Busybody (2003).
Professor Claude Night Justin Dennis A self-professed IT geek by day, Justin has enjoyed performing in musical theatre for a number of years, appearing in Oklahoma, Fiddler on the Roof, Kismet, Les Miserabl's, Anything Goes, and most recently Cats with Ignatians. Justin first joined the Players to understudy Jackie in Over the Top With Jim (2006) but soon was asked to add his singing voice and trumpet to the production. Goodnight Desdemona is Justin's second outing with the Players, so on to the Oxford brogues in Queen's.
Mecutio Anthony Bradley Always a keen theatre buff and audience member, Anthony did not step onstage until late 2001. He's now had many great memories from various productions, including his appearances for the Players in As You Like It (2004) and The Shifting Heart (2005). Other plays Anthony has appeared in include Rumors, Vacancy in Paradise, The Curious Savage, Comfort and Joy, and Gosforth's Fete for St Luke's Theatre Society, and Fiddler on the Roof, Kismet, and The Gondoliers for The Ignatians. Anthony is also kept busy as VP's secretary.
Ramona Nicola Scholes This is Nicola's first play with the Players. Her previous theatrical endeavours have been mainly with St Luke's Theatrical Society, where last year she performed in Neil Simon's Rumors and Come Blow Your Horn. Prior to that, she had appeared in Uproar in the House and Alphabetical Order (2003), No Time for Heaven and All Because of Agatha (2002), The Good Old Summertime and The Proof of the Poison (2001), Cathedral ' 10 Minutes (2000), Strange Boarders (1999) and Doctor's Orders (1998)
Soldier, servant Blaise Ahern A Year 10 student at Seton College, Blaise is quickly becoming a Players 'all-rounder', gaining much experience onstage and behind the scenes. His first role for us was as Wheeler (favourite moment was the rugby scene) in Over the Top with Jim (2006), and has since shown great talent backstage as assistant stage manager for Indian Ink and Dr Ox: The Experiment (2006). Blaise decided it would be simplest to combine his talents and take on multiple roles as well as Assistant Stage Manager for this play.
Nurse Maureen Costaris One of VP's few great-grandmothers, Maureen has assisted backstage on productions including Lend Me a Tenor (2004) and Over the River and Through The Woods (2007), and appeared onstage in To Kill a Mockingbird (2005) as Mrs Walter Cunningham and in Dr Ox: The Experiment (2006) as Lotche, the maid. Having spent much time working in childcare, Maureen now devotes her hours to the Players and Meals on Wheels.

The Crew

Stage Manager Mickey O'Donnell Mickey (Margaret) joined the Players in 1963 and has since become one of VP's most experienced Stage Managers. Of her onstage adventures, two of her favourite roles were Mrs Einsford-Hill in Pygmalion (1970 and again in 1991), and Leil in The Shifting Heart (1966 and 1982). She's stage managed for Jill Cross since A Midsummer Night's Dream (1999) and enjoyed every minute of it, and this is the most interesting and exciting play they've done together yet. Mickey's nicknames include Mother Hen and Bossy Boots.

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“Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet)” will play at

"The Theatre"
Morningside Campus of the Southbank Institute of TAFE,
Clearview Terrace, Morningside

Evenings at 8:00pm

Fri 13th and Sat 14th July,
Thur 19th, Fri 20th and Sat 21st July,
Thur 26th, Fri 27th and Sat 28th July

Matinees at 2:00pm

Sun 15th July
Sat 21st and Sun 22nd July
Sat 28th July

Prices: $16 / $13 / $11 / $6
Air Conditioned - Free Off-street Parking.

Ph. (07) 3399 5855

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