the beardless bard

I was thinking today that Ann-Marie MacDonald is really due to write another book, right? It's been forever -- forever! -- since The Way The Crow Flies was released.

But some Googling yields this novel, The Belle Moral, which appears to have been released two years ago. Has anyone read it? How did it slip past my radar? It appears, as well, to be a reworking of MacDonald's earlier play, The Arab's Mouth.

However, I am writing to you today on behalf of a different MacDonald play, Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet). Really, we should all start organizing a campaign to get this work onto the screen.

How can I count the ways this slim little play is awesome?

To start, it's really well written. Example:

"No one may remain forever young.
We change our swaddling clothes for funeral shrouds,
and in between is one brief shining space,
where love may strike by chance, but only death is sure." (p. 64)

Just as important, it's wickedly smart. Indeed, what would happen if Othello and Romeo and Juliet were comedies? What if you could incorporate the gender bender story lines Shakespeare injected in other works, like Twelfth Night? What if neither Desdemona nor Juliet were victims? And they actually got what they deserved?

What if your heroine were a modern-day woman, an academic? And if, by the end of the work, the wordplay and ridiculousness that drags the likes of Mercutio and Tybalt and Othello under could drag her under too?

I think we all know the answers to these questions are: You'd have a really great, quick read on your hands. And stage directions to stoke your imagination.

Another monologue to love:

"Regina. I hate the prairies. They're flat. It's an absolute nightmare landscape of absolutes and I'm a relativist, I'll go mad. Diamonds are a girl's best friend. Diamonds are harder than a bed of nails. I can't feel anything. I'm perfectly fine. I'll call the Dean and resign. I'll go back to my apartment and watch the plants die and let the cats copulate freely. I'll order in groceries. Eventually I'll be evicted. I'll smell really bad and swear at people on the subway. Five years later I run into Professor Night and Ramona: they don't recognize me. I'm selling pencils. They buy one. Suddenly, I drop dead. They discover my true identity. I'm awarded my doctorate posthumously...." (p. 20)

1 comment:

erin said...

Did you get to see Juliet/Desdemona when Studio Theatre put it on earlier this year? I heard it was really good.

I have to say, I kinda feel like the idea of anyone writing plays in the 21st century is kind of quaint, like do they also crochet, and enjoy watching Coronation Street? They must write them long-hadn... surely no Microsoft Word can be used in the creation of a play. And yet, I really love going to plays... does this make me quaint?