Florida School of the Arts presents “Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet)”
What if two of William Shakespeare’s famous romantic tragedies were actually comedies?
The Florida School of the Arts will answer this question with its final play of the 2014 – 2015 season “Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet).” FloArts students will perform this uproarious comedy June 11 – 13 at 7:30 p.m. and June 14 at 2:30 p.m. in the Florida School of the Arts Main Stage Theatre located on the St. Johns River State College Palatka campus. Admission is $5. The play includes adult themes, including adult language and sexual humor, and is not intended for younger audiences.
Written by Ann-Marie MacDonald, “Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet)” tells the tale of professor and Shakespearean scholar Constance Ledbelly, who is desperate to prove her theory that two of Shakespeare’s most famous tragedies, “Othello” and “Romeo and Juliet,” were originally comedies. After a series of surreal events, she finds herself in the world of both tragedies, where she changes the course of each play – for better or for worse. What follows is a play filled with misunderstandings, hilarity and self-discovery that will leave audiences laughing till the last curtain call.
“We really wanted to end the season and start the summer with a play that was humorous and light-hearted,” said FloArts instructor and play director Patricia Crotty. “We currently have a set of students who are very skilled with Shakespearean verse as well as performing this broad comic. The combination of these skills made this play a natural fit for them. Many of the actors took the Acting in Shakespeare course last summer and were ecstatic to be in the production to practice everything they’d learned. Many lines in the play are taken straight from ‘Othello’ and ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and are put into a context that changes the meaning and really brings humor to these tragedies. You don’t have to be an expert in Shakespeare to understand these jokes – the humor in this play is for everyone,” said Crotty.
Crotty said the play has many contemporary themes about personal and sexual identity as well as confronting idealism, which will resonate with the audience. Young adults can relate to the heroine’s struggle to find herself and prove her theories. However, the play never takes itself too seriously. “This play will lift audiences out of their lives and give them a good laugh along the way,” Crotty said.
The cast for “Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet)” includes: Molly Hannigan as Desdemona, Dwight Leslie as Othello, Bella Carlsen as Juliet, Jordan Leggett as Romeo, Kassidy Canova as Constance Ledbelly, Briauna Shope as Jill, Cole Nowacki as Iago, Kayla Allen as Ramona, Brandon Mayes as Tybalt, Marc Anthony as Mercutio, Joseph Grosso as Professor Claude Night and Servant, Briar Boggs as a Soldier of Cyprus, Maisha Esdaile as Juliet’s Nurse, Benoit Lamoureux as the Ghost, and Krissy Garcia, Emma Kriausky and Benoit Lamoureux as the Chorus.
The Shakespearean Ensemble is comprised of Nicole Acosta, Michael Baker, Brittni Garcia, Alicia Hill, Megan Lee, Robert McGurn and Briauna Shope.
Understudies are Nicole Acosta, Marc Anthony, Michael Baker, Briar Boggs, Brittni Garcia, Alicia Hill, Emma Kriausky, Benoit Lamoureux, Megan Lee, Robert McGurn, Cole Nowacki and Briauna Shope.
The production team for “Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet)” includes co-director Alexandria Holloway and stage manager Todd Allen.
“The scene design for the play is sort of an opening space with scenery that will rearrange into multiple locations of the play,” said scenic design instructor Robert O’Leary. “From a present day college library to the worlds of Shakespeare’s tragedies, the set nods to both the old bard’s theatre as well as the scenic style used in the Elizabethan theatre productions of the past. For example, Jade Campbell’s costume designs are a visually rich commentary on all of the clichés and traditional scholarly ideas about the Shakespearean world. The play is populated with a diverse cast of minor characters who have wandered out of the whole Shakespeare canon in a time span that stretches from the medieval history plays to the late 16th century comedies.” O’Leary said.
Technical directors Jason Correia and Alberto Tellez bring design ideas to life. They begin with designer drawings, which they then use to create 3-D computer-aided design drawings. Using those 3-D drawings, they are able to craft the scenery seen in the show by using standard stage carpentry and welded steel.
Lighting designer Ashlee Philpott has created a very intricate light plot that will enable her to program complicated sets of cues for the production. She will use a mix of conventional stage lighting and LED state-of-the-art lighting as well as intelligent lights to create a variety of looks for the show.
Palatka native W. Chris Gaston is the show’s sound designer. He has created well layered and interesting combinations of sounds to bring audiences into the multiple worlds – real and fantastical – to help shape the story.
Tobias Evans has worked diligently as paint charge for the production to make believable textures seen throughout the play, such as rocks, woods and even marble.
Other technical and production staff for the show include Dr. Kandie Smith, music coach; Luis Colon, assistant scenic designer and props master; Angel Warren and Savannah Healy, assistant stage managers; Chloe Cordle and Briauna Shope, production assistants; Chloe Cordle, dance captain; Doug Brown, scene shop manager; Shannon O’Leary, master electrician and light board operator; and Anthony Antunez, properties assistant.
Carpenters, welders, painters and electricians who helped bring the play to the stage are Todd Allen, Anthony Antunez, Katie Blaylock, Luis Colon, Jason Correia, Tobias Evans, W. Chris Gaston, Savannah Healy, Kelsey Martin, Ameena McKenzie, Lynona McKinzie, Shannon O’Leary, Jeno Tate and Alberto Tellez.
The costume staff for the production includes costume design instructor Emily Strickland; Jade Campbell, costume designer; Tracy Floyd, costume shop manager; Victoria O’Dell, wardrobe crew head; Danielle English, dresser; and costume crafts and construction crew Rachel Allen, Michael Baker, Brittany Bauer, Jade Campbell, Kassidy Canova, Danielle English, Joseph Grosso, Benoit Lamoureux, Cole Nowacki, Victoria O’Dell, Katy Page, Emily Vaughn and Angel Warren.
Florida School of the Arts is part of the academic and administrative structure of SJR State and awards the two-year Associate in Science degree. The School serves the entire state of Florida and is located on the SJR State Palatka campus. For more information, call 386-312-4300 or visit the Web site at www.floarts.org
Florida School of the Arts students Bella Carlsen (left), Kassidy Canova (middle) and Jordan Leggett (right) rehearse their roles as Juliet, Constance Ledbelly and Romeo, respectively, in the upcoming production of “Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet).” The play runs June 11 – 14 at the St. Johns River State College Palatka campus.
Romeo and Juliet share a romantic moment while heroine Constance Ledbelly ponders their tale in this scene from “Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet).” The play includes adult themes, including adult language and sexual humor, and is not intended for younger audiences. From left: Florida School of the Arts students Kassidy Canova, Bella Carlsen and Jordan Leggett.
Florida School of the Arts student Kassidy Canova practices her sword skills as she portrays Constance Ledbelly in a scene from the upcoming play “Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet).”
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