Topics for Further Study
- Choose a scene from Goodnight Desdemona that you feel is representative of a particular theme of the play and discuss, in an essay, its purpose and dramatic thrust. How does MacDonald go about achieving her goals in the scene? What are the key moments of humor, drama, suspense, or revelation? Which characters and which lines are most important? Cast the scene, choose a director, and act it out based on your observations. Then, analyze the scene you have produced, noting its successes and failures.
- Read one of Shakespeare's comedies, such as As You Like It or Much Ado about Nothing, and one of the tragedies, such as Macbeth. Write a paper or give a class presentation discussing the difference between tragedy and comedy in Shakespeare's time. How do the playwright's techniques differ? What do the conventions have in common? Do you think the plays are strictly divided and have necessary outcomes, or can you see the possibility of alternate endings?
- Goodnight Desdemona is associated with the feminist movement of the late twentieth century. Research some of MacDonald's possible influences as well as the state of feminism at the time the play was being written and produced. Write an essay discussing the key feminists of the 1970s and 1980s, focusing on how the movement changed in those two decades and how it affected the Canadian theater scene.
- Choose another of Shakespeare's plays, such as Julius Caesar or Macbeth, and read it carefully. Then write a scene in which you reinvent the play and its characters in a new way. You could include a character from the present day, add a twist in the plot, provide an extra scene between those that already exist, or engage in a parody. Make your best effort to follow the language, rhythms, and structures of Elizabethan drama, including the convention of blank verse.