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'Desdemona' re-imagines women of Othello

April 7, 2014

The Warehouse Theatre is tackling Shakespeare this week in a play that re-imagines the women of “Othello.”
“Desdemona: A Play About a Handkerchief” starts at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday with a Sunday matinee at 2 p.m. on April 13. Purchase tickets here.
In the play, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paula Vogel takes the Shakespearean tale and “turns it on its head,” director Taylor Wetzel said. “Shakespeare really didn’t pay a lot of attention to women, so this gives the women’s side of the story. And these aren’t the chaste women originally portrayed.”
The play centers on Desdemona, played by Calli Young, who has essentially slept with Othello’s entire encampment; her servant, the unhappily married Emilia, played by Allison Sword; and Bianca, played by Lydia Miller, a prostitute who intrigues Desdemona.
While the play might show how far women have come since Shakespeare penned Othello, it also “exposes what still needs to be done,” Wetzel said.
“It’s a really good play for Stephens, which is a liberal school with liberal ideas about women and empowering women,” she said. “We should never forget history and times when women were treated less human than men. So shows like these are very important.”
“Desdemona" also explores the idea that marriage is simply a different form of prostitution.

“Emilia actually is the one who brings up that point,” Wetzel said. “She’s been married for 14 years and is disillusioned.”
Although based on Shakespeare, don’t expect a period piece. The Warehouse—a student-run company—has blended modern props with pieces from other eras. Expect a “gorgeous” set with amazing performances, Wetzel said.

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