March 3, 2021

Not Now, Sweet Othello

In Not Now, Sweet Desdemona the characters are acting out Act 3, Scene 3  of Shakespeare’s Othello and ultimately end up projecting their personal lives and feelings into the play. This projection allows the audience to view the characters Desdemona and Othello from another perspective. Desdemona in this version is very controlling and this is evident from the start of the play. The very first line she recites is “How now my lord!” which is “How now my lord?” (III.III.45). The exclamation mark makes Desdemona seem more assertive than the original. I looked up a few meanings of how now and it had two meanings. The first meaning was a greeting and the second was what’s the meaning of the this? Desdemona’s line with an exclamation mark seems to fit the second definition better. Desdemona’s  On page 8-10 Desdemona is rehearsing her lines and demands to have the lights adjusted. Othello then enters and he begins reciting his lines with Desdemona. She interrupts him by yelling “Stop!”(page 11) she then has him move back so he can tell her how she sounds. This is already a contrast between Shakespeare’s Desdemona and Carlin’s Desdemona. Later in the play when Othello takes control and begins to tell Desdemona how to portray her character starting on page 20. Desdemona is reciting the same lines from Shakespeare’s play, but Othello instructs he to be sweet, determined, commanding, and overwhelming on page 25 of the play. They later argue about who the real Desdemona is and on page 26. Desdemona states there’s is no such thing as a real play and that the actors and producers are in control of how the play is presented. This relates to literature overall and specifically to Not Now, Sweet Desdemona. As the argument between Othello and Desdemona escalates their personal problems become the focus of the play and tensions that were present in the play are more apparent. For example, the fact the couple isn’t married and the racial tensions. The racial tensions are apparent in Othello but they are not as explicit as they are in Carlin’s rendition of the play. Othello and Desdemona address all of their issues and are even able to flip the play to view from another perspective where Desdemona kills Othello. The couple works things out after addressing the color problem and struggle for power. At the end of the play on page 62 Othello says to Desdemona “You’re a sweet woman.” This shift in the play created this idea that the actor became consumed in the character Othello and lost sight of who his Desdemona truly was. Othello also could have became consumed by his own fears and insecurities that he lost sight of who Desdemona was, but by addressing them with Desdemona he was able to overcome those fears and insecurities. The play suggests that if Shakespeare’s Desdemona and Othello had taken more time to evaluate their situation before getting married maybe they would have had a different outcome.

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