Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 3, No. 258. Thursday, 15 October 1992.
Date: Thursday, Oct. 15, 1992, 12:59:27 +0100
Subject: Gender of Shakespearean Characters: different viewpoint?
The discussion of cross-casting and cross dressing with all the historical
precident and causes has been interesting and came to mind as I watched a short
(30 min) program on TV the other night in which Simon Callow (a reasonably well
known brit actor) questioned the gayness or otherwise of Shakespere.
Several academics (including ones from Birmingham, Sussex and Brown's) gave
weight to the possibility of this arguement quoting scenes from 12th Night, AYLI
and Orthello. They talked of the society of the time that Shakespere was around
and its norms. Juliette Stevenson (I'm sure I've got that name wrong - sorry)
spoke of Shakespere's ability to invest his female roles with feelings that she
recognized as being absolutely female and of the fact that she had been totally
confused by the time she'd been (as a female) playing a woman dressed as a man
playing a woman (I think she got playing a boy in there as well - probably
AYLI). Then, of course, the sonnets came into it. Especially sonnet # 20.
Written by a man to a man ... etc.
A nice short program and not (luckily) living up to its pre-screening "Was our
Will GAY? - shock horror" build-up by the channel announcers. (Why oh why do we
live in such times?)
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