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Desdemona: A Play About a Handkerchief

Desdemona: A Play About a Handkerchief
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Author: Paula Vogel
Publisher: Dramatists Play Service (cover may change)
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 51
Pub. Date: 1994
ISBN-10: 0822213915
ISBN-13: 9780822213918
Cast Size: 3 female

About the Play:

Desdemona, A Play About a Handkerchief has become a favourite of acting teachers for Female Monologues.

Desdemona, A Play About a Handkerchief is a full-length comedic drama by Paula Vogel. As the wrongly accused and suffering wife of Shakespeare's tragic Moor, Othello, Desdemona has long been viewed as the "victim of circumstance." But, as Paula Vogel demonstrates in her reconfiguring of the Othello story from the women's point of view, Desdemona was far from the quivering waif we've all come to know.

Desdemona, A Play About a Handkerchief tells the story of the Moor of Venice from the perspective of his doomed wife. Set behind the scenes during the third and fourth acts of the play, the play tells the story of Othello from Desdemona's point of view. Having slept with Othello's entire encampment, Desdemona revels in her bawdy tales of conquest. Her foils and rapt listeners are the other integral and re-imagined women of this Shakespeare tragedy: Emilia, Desdemona's maid and the wife of Iago, and Bianca, now a local madam of Cyprus. The reluctantly loyal Emilia pesters Desdemona about a military promotion for her husband. Her motive, however, is that he leave her a wealthy widow, preferably sooner than later. Bianca, now a street-wise, yet painfully naive prostitute, visits Desdemona thinking she is a very good friend and fellow hooker (at least one night a week). Bianca thinks the worst when she soon discovers that Desdemona knows intimate details of the life of her lover, Cassio. Though Desdemona has never been intimate with Cassio, her life is soon in danger when her husband, Othello, also suspects her of infidelity. In Shakespeare's classic, Othello falls victim to the malice of his trusted lieutenant Iago, and to his own white-hot jealousy. In both cases, it is a seemingly-innocent handkerchief that leads to the tragic fate of Othello.

Desdemona, A Play About a Handkerchief was first produced in 1993 at the Bay Street Theatre Festival in Sag Harbor, New York and then Off-Broadway by the Circle Repertory Company at the Lucille Lortel Theatre. Since then the play had regional premieres at professional theatres across the US. The play has become a favourite scene study vehicle in acting classes and workshops and has been mounted by colleges and community theatres.

Cast: 3 female

What people say:

"Vogel remains one of the smartest, most original and engaging playwrights to come along in the last few years." — New York Newsday

About the Playwright:

Paula Vogel is an American playwright and university professor. One of the most widely produced and honoured playwrights writing in the English language, her work has garnered numerous awards and prizes including the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Susan Smith Blackburn Award, New York Drama Critics Award, Obie Award, AT&T New Plays Award, among many others, as well as fellowships from the Pew Charitable Trust, National Endowment for the Arts, and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation. She is currently the Eugene O'Neill Professor and Chair of the Department of Playwriting at Yale University.

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