“Desdemona, A Play About A Handkerchief”

Infidelity, promiscuity and the hope for a new life; “Desdemona, A Play About A Handkerchief” snatches the audiences attention.


State University of Oswego’s Theater Department’s adaption of “Desdemona, A Play About A Handkerchief” was a hit with audience members. The play was first previewed on February 28, and it ran from March 1 to March 3. The play, written by Paula Vogel, was directed by SUNY Oswego adjunct faculty member, Joan Hart Willard.

Inspired by William Shakespeare’s classic piece, “Othello,” the play parodies Shakespeare’s work, giving light to the female characters and portraying them as free-minded women who no longer wish to live under the control of men. The play focuses on Desdemona’s unfaithfulness to her husband. Within the play, the main character, Desdemona (brought to life by the lively Dana Ernst), searches frantically for a handkerchief that her husband, Othello, had given her as a gift. All the while, Desdemona was unaware that her faithful maid, Emilia (played by the equally talented Robin Rubeo) had picked up the handkerchief and kept it.

[left to right: Clare Bawarski, Robin Rubeo and Dana Ernst] photo credit: oswego.edu

As the play progresses, Othello, who had never made an appearance on stage, becomes angry with Desdemona and believes that she has been unfaithful; which has been apparent from the start. It is revealed that Desdemona had been working at a brothel with her friend, Bianca (played by the humorous Clare Bawaski).

desdemona picture

With a talented cast, also comes a talented production crew. From the sound, to the lighting, to the costumes and the set; the members of the production crew put an equally hard working, impressive effort to the performances. The actresses were dressed in medieval clothing and the stage took the form of the inside of a laundry room that was said to be part of Othello’s castle.

Ticket prices for the play were $13 for non-students and $7 for SUNY Oswego students. All proceeds from the show will help fund the Theatre Department’s trip to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival located in Edinburgh, Scotland in August 2013. At the festival, the cast will perform the play in front of other theater students from across the globe in attendance.

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