Set in the realm of Purgatory, the all-female cast of Desdemona, Emilia, Juliet, Lady Macbeth, and Ophelia explore the roles women choose in their pursuit of love and self-identity. Taking its inspiration from Dante’s Inferno, this visceral play allows powerful actors to reach heightened levels of awareness as they grapple with the ideas of an individual’s purpose in their mortal life and the ramifications it carries over into the immortal world. About 40-50 minutes.
Nelly E. Cuellar-Garcia discusses Desdemona in the Afterlife:
1. What inspired you to write this play?
My students’ insatiable curiosity over the eternal fate of the Shakespearean female characters they study and my love of the situations the women of Shakespeare find themselves placed in; add that to the eternal question of what happens to our souls after we die, and marry it to Dante’s irrevocable decree of punishment and suffering, and we have a story.
2. What's your favorite part or line in the play?
“You? You are an addendum in someone else’s story.”
This line implies that one must live life the way you want it, so you don’t end up being a footnote in someone else’s life. You must decide what you want to pursue and dream; don’t allow someone else to dictate how your life will end up.
3. Tell us more about the characters. Why did you choose these women?
Each of these women represent a different stage of life for us, as females, as we age and grow in knowledge, wisdom, and experience.
4. What did you try to achieve with this play?
I wanted a message of empowerment for women pursuing their dreams. Our world has changed much since the times of Shakespeare, and while women need no longer to be bound by tradition or expected roles, they need not die in order to be set free, like the women in my play.
5. Do you have anything else you'd like to add?
This play has many levels of analysis. It reveals a different level with each layer that is peeled away. Please feel free to explore.