By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
In Desdemona, 11th Street Theater Project works with such a powerful script that the actors would have to be incompetent not to convey at least a portion of its impact. Thankfully, everyone rises to the challenge--albeit at different moments in the production. Karen Lamb as Emelia is perhaps the most consistent of the three, because she has the luxury of an overriding attitude--that is, subservience--to which she must return again and again. Ellen Locy, as the sluttish Bianca, makes the weakest entrance, then graduates to give the production's best purely comic performance as a woman who can't understand why her prostitution would impede marriage to a nobleman.
And finally, as Desdemona, Blue McDonnel takes the stage with an overeager scene, working self-possession--like Katharine Hepburn squared in Bringing Up Baby--then gradually takes the rope that connects her character to her sister actresses. By the time she is gleefully playing Bianca against Emelia--the prostitute and the handmaid both dangled by their own obsessions for respectability--McDonnel makes us believe there is a cruel intelligence that lurks inside this spoiled little girl.
Desdemona...a play about a handkerchief runs through November 22. Call 522-