The actor, playwright, and novelist Ann-Marie MacDonald has earned a reputation as one of Canada's most exciting contemporary voices. Since the production of her first solo play, Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet), she has become widely known and revered in the theatrical and literary world. In fact, the success of Mac-Donald's first play was key in identifying her as a socially conscious feminist as well as a witty writer with wide popular appeal.
First performed in Toronto in 1988, Goodnight Desdemona is the story of Constance Ledbelly, a quirky and absentminded academic who is writing a doctoral thesis about two of William Shakespeare's tragedies. Suddenly, Constance finds herself transported into the worlds of Romeo and Juliet and Othello, where she interferes with the plot, gets to know the characters, and discovers her true identity. With its witty allusions to late-sixteenth-century English culture, its use of Elizabethan dramatic conventions, and its playful reimagining of some of Shakespeare's most enduring characters, Goodnight Desdemona amuses its audience and brings the Elizabethan period to life. It also provides a thoughtful commentary on such issues as feminism, academia, Elizabethan values, and the nature of tragedy. The play was revised in 1990, and a revised paperback edition is available from Grove Press (1998).