I think this is a play that must be seen to be truly treasured and understood. Morrison's response to Sellars 2009 production of Othello is an intimate dialogue of words and music between Desdemona and her African nurse Barbary. At first glance, Morrison's response to Sellars and Shakespeare is a provocative though unnececessary sequel. Nobel Prize-winning novelist, Toni Morrison, gives voice to one of Shakespeare's most mysterious characters in this inventive and lyrical retelling of Desdemona's life and murder by her husband Othello. The original production toured theater festivals around the world in 2012. I appreciate the insights this text offers into the character Desdemona but I'm not quite sure I would call it a play. Desdemona by Toni Morrison 413 ratings, 3.80 average rating, 40 reviews Desdemona Quotes Showing 1-3 of 3 “We will be judged by how well we love.” ― Toni Morrison, Desdemona. Desdemona explores her life before and after the events of Othello. In William Shakespeare's Othello, Desdemona is beautiful and young, but also enigmatic: one cannot know exactly why she rejects her numerous Venetian suitors to marry the Moor. Desdemona is a powerful contemporary play by Toni Morrison (Script), Rokia Traoré (Music), and Peter Sellars (Direction). In Desdemona, Toni Morrison’s response to Shakespeare’s Othello, which opens today at the Melbourne Festival, we are invited to do something – something it seems we are being invited to do as audiences of tragedy ever more: to listen. Refresh and try again. Absolutely stunning language in many moments, wonderful moments of radical afterlife honesty that allow the script to be flipped, the stories complicated (albeit sometimes didactically). Between the mumbled passages of defiance and screamed lines from Shakespeare's original, I have absolutely no idea how this is considered a play when there's effectively no character or plot. The story of Desdemona from Shakespeare's Othello is reimagined by Nobel Prize laureate Toni Morrison, Malian singer and songwriter Rokia Traore, and acclaimed stage director Peter Sellars. She is the author of many novels, including The Bluest Eye, Beloved (made into a major film), Paradise and, most recently, Home. It's a brilliant but underdeveloped response to Shakespeare's most troubling play. I thoroughly enjoyed it on literary, dramatic, psychological, and philosophical levels. I enjoyed performing it and got so much more from it in action than in reading. When I first read this, I was not a huge fan of this play. Desdemona is a play by Toni Morrison. Desdemona directed by Peter Sellars, Text by Toni Morrison, Music by Rokia Traoré 29 May 2011, Koninklijke Vlaamse Schouwburg – Royal Flemish Theatre, Brussels. She is now given an astonishing and provocative further voice by Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison, who reveals secrets in Othello that will change forever our reading of the play. NANTERRE, France — A decade ago Toni Morrison, the Nobel Prize-winning novelist, and Peter Sellars, the experimental theater and opera director, got into a … Be the first to ask a question about Desdemona. Desdemona is a collaboration among writer Toni Morrison, theater director Peter Sellars, and musician Rokia Traoré. Morrison presents a morality piece and introduces a preferable defense for the noble General's brutal reaction to warnings from his trusted ensign. Desdemona is a play by Toni Morrison. In Toni Morrison's 2012 play, however, Desdemona's voice and story dominate the stage. And so in Desdemona, we begin to glimpse some of the mysteries of Shakespeare’s Othello with new insight in the light of deepened histories. The 2011 play arose from a collaboration between Morrison, director Peter Sellars, and musician Rokia Traoré, and revolves around Desdemona's relationship with the African nurse who raised her. But I did enjoy seeing an old work through new eyes, though. It was first produced in Vienna in May 2011. [2] The 2011 play arose from a collaboration between Morrison, director Peter Sellars, and musician Rokia Traoré, and revolves around Desdemona's relationship with the African nurse who raised her.[3][4][5][6][7]. An interesting adaptation but it definitely not a closet drama, I think it would work much better in performance! In this collaborative effort, Morrison gives Desdemona from Othello, a more deserving titular role. About the Author Toni Morrison was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993. Othello and Iago's "secret," Desdemona's Barbary, these additions to Othello both increase and decrease the agency of the women. Touching, and interesting to get another interpretation of one of my favourite of Shakespeare's characters. The story of Desdemona from Shakespeare's Othello is re-imagined by Nobel Prize laureate Toni Morrison, Malian singer and songwriter Rokia Traoré, and acclaimed stage director Peter Sellars. Far more experimental than my normal read but I really enjoyed this one. I think this is a play that must be seen to be truly treasured and understood. The re-imagined female characters of Shakespeare's play Othello whereby Morrison gives voice, agency, and story to Desdemona as well as her mother, Othello's mother, Barbary (Desdemona's African nurse), Bianca (Cassio's lover) and Emilia (Iago's wife/Desdemona's maid servant). I have to read it for my Shakespeare class but I enjoyed the writing and it made me want to read more from Toni Morrison. I would consider this more of a character study. It's a high 4 for me. by Oberon Books. I wanted more in the kind of way that I didn't want it to end. Desdemona is the joint work of three prominent artists from three different backgrounds: the American writer and winner of the Nobel Prize for literature Toni Morrison, the Malinese singer-songwriter Rokia Traoré and the American director Peter Sellars. Like “My melancholy thoughts are back. It was first produced in Vienna in May 2011. A beautiful collaboration. The story of Desdemona from Shakespeare's Othello is re-imagined by Nobel Prize laureate Toni Morrison, Malian singer and songwriter Rokia Traoré, and acclaimed stage director Peter Sellars. Written by Toni Morrison and directed by Peter Sellars, this multimedia project was inspired by the fourth act of Othello, in which Desdemona, facing … Last year in London, I was bowled over by Euripides’ Medea, adapted for the National Theatre by Ben Powers. Par Charles Holdefer Publication en ligne le 24 juin 2011 She has also received the National Critics … The words of Emilia and Sa’Ran especially shined a new light on Desdemona and her place in Venetian society, Shakespeare’s play, and this text. With "Desdemona," a play that opened earlier this week, the Nobel laureate Toni Morisson probes the hidden suffering and occult oppression woven into Shakespeare's tale Othello. We’d love your help. Morrison's response to Sellars’ 2009 production of Othello is an intimate dialogue of words and music between Desdemona and her African nurse Barbary. Othello and Iago's "secret," Desdemona's Barbary, these additions to Othello both increase and decrease the agency of the women. Morrison gives voice and depth to the … i am definitely going to have to reread this several times but there is something stunning here. I'm sure we miss a lot by just reading it without hearing what appears to be significant musical accompaniment, but fans of Morrison won't want to miss out. October 23rd 2012 It brings further depth to Othello by giving voice to the characters and addressing potential nuanced undertones to the original story. Side Bar of Aqua. She had a song of “Willow,” An old thing ’twas, but it expressed her fortune And she died singing it. We have new and used copies available, in 1 editions - starting at $13.45. I wish it were longer, and I wish I could have seen it live in 2011 rather than read it now. All three plays have highly divergent interpretations of the character of Desdemona. Paul Rae will chair After Tragedy, Listening: A roundtable response to Toni Morrison’s Desdemona on … Lacks the drive of a well crafted plot. Let us know what’s wrong with this preview of, Published 1, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Desdemona_(play)&oldid=966004635, Articles with dead external links from November 2019, Articles with permanently dead external links, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, May 15, 17-21, 2011 - Theater Akzent - Vienna, Austria, May 26–29, 2011 - Theatre Royal Flamand (KVS) - Brussels, Belgium, October 13–21, 2011 - Nanterre-Amandiers theatre, Nanterre, France, October 26–29, 2011 - Zellerbach Playhouse, Berkeley, United States, November 2–3, 2011 - Rose Theater - New York, United States, November 10–12, 2011 - Haus der Berliner Festspiele - Berlin, Germany, July 2012 - Barbican Centre - London, England, June 11-13 2013 - Holland Festival, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, November 2013 - Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts: School of Drama - Kingston, Jamaica, October 16–19, 2015 - Southbank Theatre, Melbourne, Australia, April 16, 2019 - Sanders Theater, Cambridge, MA, This page was last edited on 4 July 2020, at 18:22. The title character of the play is Desdemona, the wife of the title character in Shakespeare's Othello. The titular role belongs to Desdemona, the famed wife in Othello. Reading Toni Morrison 2020 - Bonus read. Toni Morrison was born in Lorain, Ohio, to Ramah (née Willis) and George Wofford.She was the second of four children from a working-class, black family. Viewed some portions of the play and music on YouTube. My best friend has been recommending me her books since we became friends. It is not an exaggeration to compare this to William Blake's re-reading of Paradise Lost. What Morrison begins to do in fleshing out Desdemona's preparation for loving Othello and Othello's back story is brilliant; I wish she had done more. Morrison gives voice and depth to the … So, Sellars staged Othello and Morrison said she would find a way “to talk back to Shakespeare”.. Credit: New York Times "I was moving down the street – sometimes slowly but, if … Some of the biggest books out this fall promise to be epics full of magic, adventure,... To see what your friends thought of this book, Recently, Ive been getting interested in the postcolonial literary practice of writing back, a term that was coined by Salman Rushdie in his now infamous article, Recently, I’ve been getting interested in the postcolonial literary practice of “writing back,” a term that was coined by Salman Rushdie in his now infamous article. Shakespeare's Othello, reinvented in a play by nobel-prize winner Toni Morrison. Toni Morrison’s writing is incredible, but not being able to hear the music that weaves into the play while reading was difficult. Desdemona is at Melbourne Festival from October 16-19, details here. In the case of Toni Morrison's Desdemona; misery is the curse for having but one life after gaining wisdom in death. Not my fave, but it has a great quote: We will be judged by how well we love. (Having not experienced the live music I, I wish it were longer, and I wish I could have seen it live in 2011 rather than read it now. Desdemona, in Morrison’s update, reaches out to Barbary to explain that it was through their early contact that she was able to transcend the racial prejudices of her people and marry Othello. Stage manager notes would help clarify staging. I will definitely read this again one day, because it was so dense that it's hard to review fully objectively. I am not a huge fan of the character Desdemona or Othello, but I really like Emilia and Sa'ran. i usually write very punchy one-sentence reviews intended to be humorous, but i can’t do that here. The story of Desdemona from Shakespeare's Othello is re-imagined by Nobel Prize laureate Toni Morrison, Malian singer and songwriter Rokia Traoré, and acclaimed stage director Peter Sellars. Kept from a 5 because of the density and the brevity. Definitely made me look at Shakespeare's Othello in a different light. What Morrison begins to do in fleshing out Desdemona's preparation for loving Othello and Othello's back story is brilliant; I wish she had done more. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Writer Toni Morrison, director Peter Sellars, and singer-songwriter Rokia Traoré breathe new life into Shakespeare’s Desdemona. Challenges: May 2020 - 21/31 books. However, I think it lost a lot of its impact because - as a play - it was designed to be performed, rather than read and I read it. ), i usually write very punchy one-sentence reviews intended to be humorous, but i cant do that here. If you've read Othello and you're ready for Toni Morrison to take you to the brink of sanity, then this is the play for you. “My mother had a maid called Barbary, She was in love, and he she loved proved mad And did forsake her. Toni Morrison's play, Desdemona, is a brilliant and powerful re-reading of Othello. tags: judgement, love. Only Toni Morrison could write such a response to Othello, one which resolves the tragedy Shakespeare couldn't. Morrison's play marks the third major play focusing on Shakespeare's Desdemona composed by a modern female playwright, following Desdemona: A Play about a Handkerchief (1993) by Paula Vogel, and Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet) (1988) by Ann-Marie MacDonald. Morrison's response to Sellars' 2009 production of Othello is an intimate dialogue of words and music between Desdemona and her African nurse Barbary. Dying twice is the curse of the cowardly according to Caesar. A beautiful collaboration with Toni Morrison (writer), Rokia Traore (Mali musician/composer) and Peter Sellars (director). Short but good commentary and savage burns. Wonderfully written. Morrison's response to Sellars’ 2009 production of Othello is an intimate dialogue of words and music between Desdemona and her African nurse Barbary. I was wary, as I have a checkered history with Toni Morrison’s novels, but this short dramatic piece is revelatory. She is 'playing in the light,' as it turns out. Unfortunately, the dramatic action suffers a lot from the heavy amount of exposition throughout the text. The official playscript of Desdemona was published in 2012 by Oberon Books, with a foreword written by the director Peter Sellars. Morrison’s Desdemona picks up where Shakespeare’s Othello leaves off, taking place in Desdemona’s afterlife. This reimagining of Desdemona (from Othello) was interesting with race, class and gender all featuring prominently. Morrison’s story is fascinating, the music, with its dreamy spa quality and tribal African beat, is mesmorizing, and the talent is prodigious. The re-imagined female characters of Shakespeare's play Othello whereby Morrison gives voice, agency, and story to Desdemona as well as her mother, Othello's mother, Barbary (Desdemona's African nurse), Bianca (Cassio's lover) and Emilia (Iago's wife/Desdemona's maid servant). The story of Desdemona from William Shakespeare's "Othello" is reimagined by Nobel Prize laureate Toni Morrison, Malian singer and songwriter Rokia Traore, and acclaimed stage director Peter Sellars. Morrison's text, a series of monologues and dialogues spoken by an actress who plays Desdemona and channels various other characters, alternates with songs written and performed by Traoré, a renowned Malian singer and composer. […] first, i love toni morrison and i think reading her books has changed me for the better as a person; her way with words is fierce and cutting and so beautiful and sharp it borders on glorious, merging emotional horror with exceptionally vivid grotesque imagery to create truly unforgettable pieces. The story of Desdemona from Shakespeare's Othello is re-imagined by Nobel Prize laureate Toni Morrison, Malian singer and songwriter Rokia Traoré, and acclaimed stage director Peter Sellars. Morrison uses a rather shallow Desdemona to move forward with brevity a re-examination of the motivation and character of the Moor, Othello. Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account. Like Shakespeare's plays, it is a play for a reason. i know this work has value and i want to hear what my Black peers have to say about it, because i know as a white girl i can’t see the full nuance (but i want to!). (Having not experienced the live music I lost half the show; with music it ran 2:15, so I think that Toni Morrison was working under forced time limits. If you love the fantasy genre, this is the season for you! first, i love toni morrison and i think reading her books has changed me for the better as a person; her way with words is fierce and cutting and so beautiful and sharp it borders on glorious, merging emotional horror with exceptionally vivid grotesque imagery to create truly unforgettable pieces. Desdemona is the most fiery angel in Shakespeare’s creation—a radiant and radical woman of independence courage and love. Morrison's response to Sellars’ 2009 production of Othello is an intimate dialogue of words and music between Desdemona and her African nurse Barbary. The words of Emilia and SaRan especially shined a new light on Desdemona and her place in Venetian society, Shakespeares play, and this text. Life and career Early years. I thoroughly enjoyed it on literary, dramatic, psychological, and philosophical levels. It's a brilliant but underdeveloped response to Shakespeare's most troubling play. Context / Reception: The story goes that Toni Morrison and Peter Sellars (who is an experimental theater director) got into an argument about Othello – Sellars said it had outlived its usefulness and Morrison said he was wrong. In Toni Morrison’s creation, Desdemona is no longer a teenager but a mature woman with perspective and the opportunity to gradually recognize and let go of her own illusions. Desdemona is a play that first debuted at Theater Akzent in Vienna, Austria in 2011 and published in 2012 by Oberon Books. Im sure the song sections especially would have been better seen performed. (And yes, I'm channelling Harold Bloom here. i do know, though, that from a first read, i didn’t... like it? Desdemona as a performance product was a unique theatrical experience. Very thought provoking and. Desdemona by Toni Morrison - Alibris Buy Desdemona by Toni Morrison online at Alibris. The work was a team effort consisting of Toni Morrison, Rokia Traoré, and Peter Sellars. [8], Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet), "Toni Morrison's 'Desdemona' and Peter Sellars's 'Othello, "Oppressed voices ring out in Morrison's 'Othello, "Music theater review: Peter Sellars' 'Desdemona' at Berkeley", "Desdemona's Riveting Multi-Dimensional Truths", "Toni Morrison's Desdemona delivers a haunting, powerful "re-membering, "Theatre Royal Flamand (KVS) - Brussels, Belgium", "Zellerbach Playhouse, Berkeley, United States", "Haus der Berliner Festspiele - Berlin, Germany", "Year of Shakespeare: Desdemona - Blogging Shakespeare", https://www.facebook.com/events/356341841646325/, Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination, Race-ing Justice, En-Gendering Power: Essays on Anita Hill, Clarence Thomas and the Construction of Social Reality, Birth of a Nation'hood: Gaze, Script, and Spectacle in the O. J. Simpson Case, Remember: The Journey to School Integration, The Source of Self-Regard: Selected Essays, Speeches, and Meditations, Othello Ballet Suite/Electronic Organ Sonata No. Shakespeare's Othello, reinvented in a play by nobel-prize winner Toni Morrison. Toni Morrison says the most important thing in writing Desdemona was to remove Iago's 'white male gaze'. Desdemona and Othello come to terms in the place of undeath and Desdemona understands her participation in her murder. 504 Angela Street. This reimagining of Desdemona (from Othello) was interesting with race, class and gender all featuring prominently. Toni Morrisons writing is incredible, but not being able to hear the music that weaves into the play while reading was difficult. Throughout Desdemona, Morrison constructs a magical realist model for self-liberation by removing the previously established natural social order. Challenges: May 2020 - 21/31 books. As one who still calls Othello her favorite of Shakespeare’s plays, I was embarrassed that I didn’t know this work existed. The story of Desdemona from Shakespeare's Othello is re-imagined by Nobel Prize laureate Toni Morrison, Malian singer and songwriter Rokia Traoré, and acclaimed stage director Peter Sellars. Not my fave, but it has a great quote: “We will be judged by how well we love.”. i know this work has value and i want to hear what my Black peers have to say about it, because i know. ), As one who still calls Othello her favorite of Shakespeares plays, I was embarrassed that I didnt know this work existed. ", Meet the Epic and Awesome Authors of Fall's Big Fantasy Novels. I was wary, as I have a checkered history with Toni Morrisons novels, but this short dramatic piece is revelatory. I’m sure the song sections especially would have been better seen performed. Morrison's response to Sellars’ 2009 production of Othello is an intimate dialogue of words and music between Desdemona and her African nurse Barbary. [1] The title character of the play is Desdemona, the wife of the title character in Shakespeare's Othello. After, I really started thinking about it, though, and finding different themes to use for my Shakespeare project I began to like it. Yes...Time we heard the women’s perspective... Hard to imagine really loving this without hearing the songs, but overall it's an interesting, if slightly abstract, take on Othello. Toni Morrison (born Chloe Ardelia Wofford) was an American author, editor, and professor who won the 1993 Nobel Prize in Literature for being an author "who in novels characterized by visionary force and poetic import, gives life to an essential aspect of American reality. Reading Toni Morrison 2020 - Bonus read. 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