Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Something familiar, something peculiar...

I've always been rather lucky with door-prizes. I've toyed briefly with the idea if seeing if this luck extends to lottery tickets, but even a math-phobe like myself would see the futility in this.

Last January, I won two complimentary tickets to the Great Canadian Theatre Company at A Company of Fool's annual Twelfth Night, which meant I had to redeem my coupon before the next January 5th. Luckily, the very play I wanted to see began its run last week.

Ann-Marie MacDonald is one of those terrifying people who seem to be able to do anything. In Canada, she's a highly visible broadcast journalist for the CBC, has also acted, and written award-winning plays, screenplays and books -- including Fall on Your Knees which put me in such a blue funk I couldn't finish it. Fortunately, Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet) is not one bit depressing. It's a witty and whimsical fairy tale in which a dowdy, naive and put-upon English professor named Constance finds her thesis -- the possibilities of Othello and Romeo & Juliet as comedies -- suddenly coming to life.

The problems are in the consequences of halting the tragedies at their respective points of no return. When Othello is handed the incriminating handkerchief and shown it was Iago leading him into madness and jealousy, Iago becomes a danger to Constance and Desdemona is revealed to be something like a lady pirate. When the deadly confrontation between Romeo and Tybalt is averted with the news that they are now cousins by marriage, Juliet rapidly deteriorates into a bored teenage bride with the hots for Constance whom she has mistaken, in true Shakespearean comedic fashion, for a man.

How does it all work out? It's a comedy; there's a happy ending, of course.

The cast consisted of five able actors led by Margot MacDonald, co-founder of the Fools and "Restes!!!" (crowed younger daughter who remembers A Midwinter Dream's Tale with pleasure). We also had Geoff McBride and Zach Counsil playing all the male roles; we've seen both of them many times before - they're very good. Sascha Cole and Pippa Lawrence played all the female roles (with maybe one male role snuck in); we've seen neither of them before - they're also very good.

So a lovely afternoon, enhanced by the mini-drama behind us involving a pretty young man informing those sitting next to them that he was sitting there in hopes of not getting kicked out. I don't know where he got this idea, as the performance was sold out and a burly young man appeared in due course and claimed his seat. Later, we discovered there were "Latecomer's Seats" to avoid interruptions in the performance and pretty young man was -- sitting pretty. Another happy ending, of course.

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