More Whacks for Desdemona

Time to revisit the 1980s feminist three-hander, Desdemona: A Play About a Handkerchief, in which the title character gets a whacking, as a lesson from the prostitute Bianca in how to behave if she should ever find herself bottom-up in front of a man.

We start in 2011 with a production at the Boxcar Theatre, San Francisco, where Karina Wolfe bent over to be whacked by Theresa Miller. And it seems to have entailed a remarkable feat of self-control, if she really did assume this particular position atop the table:


Next we go to Ottawa in 2012, where we find Desdemona on hands and knees:


In Oswego, New York, Bianca must be a good teacher, because Desdemona seems to have learned to enjoy it:


February 2016 saw a production at a university in Oregon, featuring a riding whip.


Oregon hadn’t seen the last of the play that year. In the May 2016 production by Post 5 Theatre Company, in Portland, the characters wore in sumptuous near-Eastern period attire, befitting the setting in Cyprus. But for the whacking scene, Desdemona (Elizabeth Parker) took off her purple dress and got the belt from Bianca (Shannon Mastel) wearing only her slip:


Beat that? Easily, thanks to a November 2016 student production in Georgia, where the whacking, also by belt, was administered to the seat of Desdemona’s panties!


Close examination reveals that the actress did wear her own panties underneath, and that she was sensible enough not to choose a thong. But she still deserves our rapturous applause for her courage and her theatrical aplomb!

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