Friday, January 21, 2011

Goodnight Desdemona, Good Morning Juliet

Ever wonder what would have happened if Romeo and Juliet didn't die tragically?  That they survived long enough to actually get to know each other.  Think they would have really gotten married?  Or realized after a few days that maybe, just maybe, they were not meant to be star crossed lovers?

Ann Marie MacDonald's fabulous play Good Night Desdemona, Good Morning Juliet tackles that very question in a hilarious (and very thought-provoking) way. 

I'm waist deep in a new book (well a trilogy actually) called Kristin Lavransdatter.  It begs the same question.  Two people (Kristin and Erlend) see each other, fall madly, passionately in love and are willing to do anything to marry.  She is already betrothed (with gives you an idea of the time the book is set in) and he's got a questionable history but Krisin is willing to disgrace her family, end her engagement, sacrifice her maidenhood and leave her home to marry a man she hardly knows.

As you might imagine, once they can actually be together for more than five minutes, they both realize that the other person is not so shiny and perfect.  In fact, they can be downright annoying and sometimes quite boorish.  But they're already married and have given up everything to be together so now what??

Nobody is shiny and perfect.  Sometimes that is quite evident within seconds of meeting a person.  Other times, it's not.  But we are all different (thank heavens) and therefore think differently, behave differently, respond, communicate, clean the house and make the dinner differently.   

Why are stories like Romeo and Juliet so compelling?  It's basically two people who fall in love at first sight which means it's most likely based purely on physical attractiveness and sex appeal rather than on their ability to handle complex emotions, communicate effectively or play Scrabble.  They "love" each other so much that they are quite willing to kill themselves rather than be apart. 


What about the kind of love where two people love each other despite of, and because of, their differences? The kind where they accept the other person just as they are and they don't base everything on whether or not the person makes them swoon with passion from across the room?  Certainly not as exciting and definitely not the material needed for a blockbuster movie - but it works for me.

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