Actors take on multiple comedic roles in 'Goodnight Desdemona'

SUNY Oswego’s student honors production, “Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet),” will present a challenge for the cast—four of the actors are tasked with playing more than a dozen roles in this imaginative journey through the subconscious.

The 1988 play by Ann-Marie MacDonald will preview at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 13, and run at 8 p.m. Nov. 14 to 17, with a concluding matinee at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 18. All performances will be in the lab theatre in the lower level of Tyler Hall on campus.

The plot centers on Constance Ledbelly (Clarissa Bawarski), a doctoral candidate at Queens University. Constance theorizes the Shakespearean tragedies “Othello” and “Romeo and Juliet” originally were written as comedies, but the character of the “wise fool” was overlooked.

Three student actresses in rehearsal imageAs the play maneuvers through Constance’s subconscious, it morphs into a calamitous mix of humor and action.

“We have four actors in this play who are playing multiple characters,” said director Rob Kristel, a senior adolescence education and theatre double major. “We have one actor (Nathan Keep) who is playing Romeo and Iago, two huge characters. Another one (Robin Rubeo) is playing Desdemona, Ramona and Mercutio, so they’re even going opposite gender.”

John Limer-Nies plays Claude Night, Othello and Tybalt, and Shanna Fuld takes on Juliet, a soldier and a servant.

“It is definitely a challenge, and yes they are all different, but you can really find a through line between every single character, whether they’re the passionate young male love of Romeo or the sleazy, secretive and destructive Iago,” Kristel said.

‘More relatable’

Bawarski, a sophomore theatre major, said the play puts a new twist on classic Shakespearean characters.

“You get to see the characters almost in a completely different light—they’re a lot more comical and a lot more relatable,” she said. “You never know what’s going to happen next. There are things happening everywhere. It’s really fast-paced.”

Kristel, who is balancing his directorial duties in Oswego with student teaching at Westside Academy at Blodgett in Syracuse, said MacDonald’s play “just spoke to us.”

“With the cohesion that we’ve got going and the trust that we have for each other—I don’t think I’ve seen a show with this much trust—we’ve really gotten to a place where we are working together very well. I could not be more excited about what’s going on,” he said.

Tickets cost $13 ($7 for SUNY Oswego students) and are available at all SUNY Oswego box offices, online at or by calling 312-2141. All tickets for the preview are $5.

Patrons with disabilities needing assistance should contact the box office in advance at 312-2141.

PHOTO CAPTION: Such sweet sorrow—On a subconscious journey during pursuit of her doctoral work on Shakespeare, Constance Ledbelly (Clarissa Bawarski, center) finds herself literally at swords’ points between Juliet (Shanna Fuld, left) and Desdemona (Robin Rubeo) in SUNY Oswego’s student honors production “Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet),” a fast-paced action-comedy previewing at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 13. It runs at 8 p.m. Nov. 14 to 17 and 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 18, at the lab theatre in Tyler Hall on campus.

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(Posted: Nov 01, 2012)

Tags: theatre, theater, student honors production, student experience, "goodnight desdemona good morning juliet"