By Alyssa Serrano
All College Theatre (ACT) put on a show of “Goodnight Desdemona Good Morning Juliet” in the Don Evan’s Black Box Theatre from April 13 to 15.
This play, written by Ann-Marie MacDonald, requires a lot of scene changes, as the main character, Constance, changes both in state of mind and physical location throughout the show. For this performance, they utilized rake seating, which allowed audience members who were farther back to still see the show clearly and also kept the audience focused and facing one direction for the entirety of the show.
The show centers around Constance, an English literature professor whose boss used work she had done in order to secure a job at a respected university. Besides the betrayal she faced from her boss, she is also obsessed with finding what she believes to be the true source material of Shakespeare’s works, specifically “Othello” and “Romeo and Juliet.”
Constance is awkward and struggles defending herself before her adventure into her favorite stories, and so the audience is able to watch as she transforms into someone willing to stand up for herself and her friends. Dana Clukey, a freshman graphic design student, felt that Olivia Ayala, who played Constance, had a stand-out performance.
“I really liked her performance, and I thought her interactions with the Shakespearean characters felt natural and as if it made sense even though it really shouldn’t,” Clukey said.
The show allows the audience to see the personalities of Shakespeare’s characters come to life in a way that was not fully explored in the original plays. Seeing a more multifaceted approach to these characters added to the comedy and made the characters seem more human and relatable.
Sara Horvath, a freshman nursing major, played three characters — Juliet’s nurse, a soldier and the fiancé of Constance’s boss. All of her character’s had very different personalities, and they added to both the comedy of the show and showcased at times how ridiculous the other characters were being. For example, the nursemaid was a very calm and collected figure and she really tried to get Juliet to see reason when Juliet decided she was sick of Romeo after approximately one day of marriage.
“I like how they each have their own things to them,” Horvarth said. “One is super sassy, the other is kind of annoyed but caring and calm all at the same time. They all have very different personalities, and I think that’s fun about them.”
The cast had the audience engaged and laughing along throughout the duration of the show.
Clukey mentioned that her favorite scene in the show was the scene in the hall. In this scene, the audience sees how even with the interference of a “Wise Fool” (Constance), the characters were imperfect and made bad decisions. It also showed just how young Romeo and Juliet were by showing them bickering and coming up with silly solutions to try and gain Constance’s attention. Throughout this entire scene, there was a chorus of laughter coming from the audience.
“It was Constant rapport, and it made me laugh a lot,” Clukey said.
It was clear the show was enjoyed both from the cheers and the standing ovation that was given at the end of the show. Some audience members even came decked out in matching shirts to support Avina Sharma, one of the actors.
Horvarth made it very clear that the show was just as loved by the cast as it was the viewers.
“I loved working with this cast and seeing everyone’s acting styles come out and the show come together,” said Horvath.