A stranger visits Shakespeare

Life for well-known characters goes awry as time-traveler drops in

Posted: Thursday, May 04, 2000

Instead of falling through the looking glass like Alice, the protagonist of ``Good Night Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet)'' tumbles into a garbage can -- and finds herself transported into two Shakespeare plays.

``The garbage can is our portal into the Twilight Zone,'' said the play's director Debora Stovern. ``The play is a cross between Shakespeare and the weirdest of Rod Serling simultaneously. It's Shakespeare with a twist.''

Time travel, pop culture and women's issues collide this weekend when ``Good Night Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet)'' opens on Friday. The play is the last of Juneau-Douglas Little Theatre's season.

``It's always fun to poke fun and that's what this play does with Shakespeare, but in his own style,'' said Stovern, who has worked with various theater groups in Juneau.

Although the play involves characters from Shakespeare's famous tragedies, ``Romeo and Juliet'' and ``Othello,'' the comedy is accessible to everyone regardless of their knowledge of the bard's work, Stovern said.

``This play doesn't leave anyone out. It's a broad comedy,'' the director said.

The play's premise revolves around a bookish professor, Constance Ledbelly, who is writing her thesis on Shakespeare's work. Ledbelly is a naive and socially-impaired woman more comfortable with books than people.

Once she travels back in time, however, she not only changes the course of fate for her new friends (famous Shakespeare characters), she also transforms herself.

``The protagonist meets these people and discovers the heroine within herself,'' said Sharon Early, who plays Ledbelly. ``It's a story about the discovery of self and the strength of womanhood.''

Although the play mixes Shakespeare, academia and the power of experiential learning, the result is a tongue-in-cheek, fast-paced comedy, director Stovern said.

``It's a fantasy romp like `The Wizard of Oz' or `The Twilight Zone,''' Early said. ``It's pretty silly, a total blast.''

``Good Morning Desdemona, (Good Night Juliet)'' opens at 8 p.m. Friday at the Palace Theatre and runs through Sunday, May 21. Thursday shows are at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday shows start at 8 p.m. and Sunday matinees begin at 2 p.m. There will be no performance on Sunday, May 14. Tickets are $10 on Thursdays and Sundays and $14 on Fridays and Saturdays. They can be purchased at Hearthside Books or at the door.

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