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Desdemona: A Play about a Handkerchief

Written by Paula Vogel

director Stephen Rupsch

Oct 29-31 Nov. 1, 6-8 2003

Director’s Notes:

Who do we see in our minds eye when we open a book and read about the great characters that are in the ‘Western Canon’? What are our expectations?

In Vogel’s revisioning and deconstruction of famous tragic heroines, we have an opportunity to ask ourselves if we have presumptions about who they are and what they represent. In this case, we are asked to question these women and how they might have related to one another under known oppression. Vogel exposes misogyny through the interaction of the oppressed in both the heroic and non-heroic ways.

When I first saw Desdemona: A play about handkerchief a few years ago in London, I was disturbed by it. I laughed and then I was reminded about the source of my laughter. For me, the most powerful comedy is always laced with the tragic. When we laughed at the absurdity of the horror that surrounds us, we gain power over it. It is my hope that we will laugh tonight. It is also my hope that we will be at least a little disturbed at what we are laughing at.

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