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Once Upon A Play ...

Western students step in to save Juliet and Desdemona

MONMOUTH -- Ever wish you could step inside a play and straighten those idiots out?

Constance Ledbelly gets the chance in "Good Night, Desdemona (Good Night, Juliet)" which opens at Western Oregon University Nov. 6.

The play kicks off the 2002-2003 theater season.

Student JuliAnn Lomas directs the play where a young woman gets the chance to step into "Othello" and "Romeo and Juliet" and change the course of the dramas.

Written by Ann Marie MacDonald, the award-winning play is a comedy that tells the story of Constance Ledbelly, a harried English professor at Queen's University who has been writing papers and doing projects for a male professor so that he can have the reputation of a scholar.

The play begins on the day when she realizes he couldn't care less for her, has been using her all this time to get a better job, and he loves someone else.

Ledbelly has been working on a theory that Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" and "Othello" were really comedies that Shakespeare found and turned into tragedies and she has an old manuscript that she wants to decode that she thinks will prove her theory.

Suddenly, Ledbelly is sucked into her wastebasket and emerges in the midst of "Othello," where she manages to stop Othello from believing what Iago says and interjects herself into the plot line, saving Desdemona and befriending her.

In the third act, Constance finds herself in the midst of "Romeo and Juliet." Mercutio and Tybalt think she is a boy named Constantine and she is able to keep them from dueling by telling the truth about Romeo and Juliet's marriage.

But Romeo is attracted to her. And so is Juliet.

There's a mad scramble of mistaken identity and costume changes with an appearance of Yorick's ghost in the graveyard and the arrival of Desdemona, who wants Constance to come back to her play and take revenge on Iago.

Confusion leads to confusion, cross dressing to cross dressing, but Constance finally realizes she can accept living in confusion rather than certainty.

"The play is lively, fun and fast-paced," said theater department head Richard Davis.

"Good Night, Desdemona (Good Night, Juliet)" opens Wednesday, Nov. 6, and runs through Saturday, Nov. 9, at 7 p.m. in the Rice Auditorium Studio Theatre.

Tickets for the production are $8 general admission and $6 for students and seniors.

More information is available by calling 503-838-8462.

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