1992

More Rs: Changing the Gender of Shakespearean

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 3, No. 248.  Tuesday, 13 October 1992.
 
(1)	From: 	Steve Urkowitz <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Date: 	Monday, Oct. 12, 1992, 21:08:52 EDT
	Subj: 	Re: Changing the Gender of Shakespearean Characters
 
(2)	From: 	Richard Gale <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Date: 	Tuesday, Oct. 13, 1992, 08:13:34 -0500 (CDT)
	Subj: 	Re: Changing the Gender of Shakespearean Characters
 
(1)---------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
From: 		Steve Urkowitz <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Monday, Oct. 12, 1992, 21:08:52 EDT
Subject: 	Re: Changing the Gender of Shakespearean Characters
 
About the gender of actors playing gendered roles:  The world of play allows
and encourages imaginative substitutions.  At City College of New York a few
years ago, I saw a brilliant young woman play Hal in *Henry IV Part 1*.  Part
of her preparation was exploring the physical life of being an athletically
trained young man.  She was a joy to watch.  Though there are other discussions
of cross-gender casting, you might want to look at the description of work by
the British CHEEK BY JOWL company.  Their *As You Like It* in 1991 was one of
the most graceful and sexually sensitive performances of the play I've ever
seen.  A wise and stimulating description of the company's work is Simon Reade,
CHEEK BY JOWL: TEN YEARS OF CELEBRATION (I don't have the publisher, but the
ISBN # is 0 949230 49 5).  (An oddity in the book is that the description of
the AYLI may be found ten or a dozen pages beyond the page listed in the table
of contents.)  The company director's approach to exploring sexual definitions
made me want to try his ideas someday when I'm very very confident . . .
 
                         Steve Urkowitz, SURCC@CUNYVM
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
From: 		Richard Gale <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Tuesday, Oct. 13, 1992, 08:13:34 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: 	Re: Changing the Gender of Shakespearean Characters
 
>How common is it to change the gender of Shakepearean characters?
 
I am currently dramaturging a university production of "As You Like
It" wherein we are faced with the same problems.  In most university
settings there will be more women than men auditioning for the roles,
and you either have to accept some kind of gender switch or go
outside the acting pool to form your cast.  The latter causes a great
deal of difficulty as the outsiders will invariable be placed in the
larger roles, thus excluding university talent.  Not a good
situation.
 
At the start of the quarter we had fifteen males audition for a play
that could use twice that.  We also had two strong males and three
strong females from the MFA program.  Given the nature of the play,
we felt that casting women "as" men would be inappropriate, so our
solution was to cast the three MFA females as Rosalind, Celia, and
Jaques, and to cast Corin, Amiens, and the First Lord (now first lady)
as women.
 
So far (two weeks into rehearsals) all is well, and actually the
necessity of the situation has brought out some interesting
discoveries.  What it comes down to is working with what you have and
making the best of the situation.  Comments?
 
r.g.
 
Richard Gale
University of Minnesota

Rs: Changing the Gender of Shakespearean Characters

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 3, No. 247.  Monday, 12 October 1992.
 
(1)	From: 	Tim Bowden <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Date: 	Sunday, Oct. 11, 1992, 19:52:51 PDT
	Subj: 	Re: Changing the Gender of Shakespearean Characters
 
(2)	From:	Mez <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Date: 	Monday, Oct. 12, 1992, 07:05:44 PDT
	Subj: 	re: Changing the Gender of Shakespearean Characters
 
(3)	From: 	Timothy Pinnow <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Date: 	Monday, Oct. 12, 1992, 13:15:29 CDT
	Subj: 	Re: Changing the Gender of Shakespearean Characters
 
(4)	From: 	Rick Jones <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Date: 	Oct. 12, 1992, 14:33:00 CST
	Subj: 	RE: Changing the Gender of Shakespearean Characters
 
(1)---------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
From: 		Tim Bowden <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Sunday, Oct. 11, 1992, 19:52:51 PDT
Subject: 	Re: Changing the Gender of Shakespearean Characters
 
HU> How common is it to change the gender of Shakepearean characters?
 
It was common in about 100% of the plays at the outset.  I still try to imagine
breathy balcony scenes with Juliet played by a young boy, but that's how it was
done.  Women did not appear in Elizabethan performances.
 
Tim Bowden
<This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
From:		Mez <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Monday, Oct. 12, 1992, 07:05:44 PDT
Subject: 	re: Changing the Gender of Shakespearean Characters
 
Boston is a hotbed of it.
 
Inanna has done two all-female productions of Shakespeare; Two Gents and Henry
IV 1. The Shakespeare Ensemble at MIT changed Belarius, Guiderius, and
Arviragus into women in a production of Cymbeline. The folks who do Shakespeare
in Western MA [Shakespeare and Company] used a woman for Ariel (I believe that
is not uncommon; Ariel's sex can easily not be much of an issue).
 
>I'm not sure of all the switches, but Hamlet, Laertes and Polonius
>are women and Ophelia is a man.  He approached it as a problem of casting the
>leads.  He decided to match the best actors to the main parts, regardless of
>gender, then adjust the remainder.
 
And was it just chance that he ended up with a heterosexual couple for
Hamlet/Ophelia? Or is Ophelia not a lead. And what about Claudius and Gertrude?
How interesting...
 
	Mez
 
(3)---------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
From: 		Timothy Pinnow <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Monday, Oct. 12, 1992, 13:15:29 CDT
Subject: 	Re: Changing the Gender of Shakespearean Characters
 
In response to David Allan Grier's query,
 
I think it is a common practice in many colleges and universities,
particularly those with a limited number of theatre students to cast women
in men's roles.  However, from my experience, it is usually expected of the
women that they play the roles as if they were male.  I myself have cast
that way several times to afford a more equitable opportunity to the
students.  I also know of many small professional companies who do simliar
things. And often, it is possible to change the gender of some of the roles
(Ariel, Puck, and various servants like Biondello or Grumio) without
changing the feel of the piece.
 
I did see a production at the University of Iowa last year of *Twelfth
Night* that did not change the gender of the characters, but cast all of
the roles with an actor of opposite gender.  The actors were all pseudo
cross-dressed then, but with see through garments that allowed the audience
to know the true gender of the actors.  All in all, it was pretty darned
confusing and we missed most of the story.  But it was an interesting
evening, to say the least.
 
Timothy Dayne Pinnow
Ass't. Prof. of Theatre
St. Olaf College
1520 St. Olaf Ave
Northfield MN 55057
ph. 507/646-3327
Internet: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
(4)---------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
From: 		Rick Jones <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Oct. 12, 1992, 14:33:00 CST
Subject: 	RE: Changing the Gender of Shakespearean Characters
 
David Alan Grier <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.> asks:
 
    How common is it to change the gender of Shakepearean characters?
 
It depends on a lot of things, but it's certainly not uncommon, especially in
university settings.  I know of one *Hamlet* in which the director was faced
with the all-too-common problem of far more good women than good men, and
solved it but bracketing a slightly abridged *Hamlet* with a madhouse scene a
la Marat/Sade.  So, since all the inmates were women, so were the actors
playing the roles (and the occasional "guard" could be male, allowing roles for
what good men there were).  There's also a film version with Dame Judith
Anderson in the title role.  And of course a number of roles (though none in
*Hamlet* spring to mind) are played roughly as often by women as by men: Ariel,
Puck, Rumour, the witches, etc.  I suppose Osric and one or two of the players
would be possibilities.  The problem is to keep the production from being too
"cute": changing the sex of *all* the major characters is going to read as some
sort of half-baked political statement, whether or not it was intended as such.
 
Rick Jones
Cornell College, Mount Vernon, IA 52314
e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Ohio Shakespeare Conference Announcement

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 3, No. 245.  Saturday, 10 October 1992.
 
From: 		Thomas G. Bishop <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Saturday, Oct. 10, 1992, 14:32:22 -0400
Subject: 	Conference Announcement
 
 
                        OHIO SHAKESPEARE CONFERENCE 1993
 
                           March 25-27, 1993
 
 
    The Ohio Shakespeare Conference for 1993 will be held in Cleveland OH and
    hosted jointly by Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland State
    University.  The topic for the conference will be:
 
 
    "There the Whole Palace Open'd": Court and Society in Jacobean England
 
 
    This will be an interdisciplinary conference drawing on the work of literary
    scholars, historians, art historians and musicologists. The central topic is
    the court of King James: its structure; organization; political, social and
    aesthetic tastes; impact on local and wider English histories. In pursuing
    the court's images and accounts of itself, the conference will include a
    full-scale, historically informed reconstruction of the masque
 
 
    			"Oberon, the Faery Prince"
 
 
    by Ben Jonson, Inigo Jones, Robert Jones and others. Consideration of Oberon
    as an instance of Jacobean court culture  will include a discussion of the
    production with the professional artists involved: stage director,
    choreographer and music director.
 
 
    Plenary speakers at the conference will be:
 
    Prof. Leeds Barroll, University of Maryland
 
    Prof. Peter Holman, University of Essex
 
    Prof. Fritz Levy, University of Washington
 
    Prof. Annabel Patterson, Duke University
 
    Prof. Stephen Orgel, Stanford University
 
 
    Scholars who work in the area of the early seventeenth century in any
    discipline are invited to submit papers (8-10 pages; 20 mins reading time)
 	or
    abstracts (2 pp. max) to
 
    Prof. David Evett
    Dept of English
    Cleveland State Univeristy
    Cleveland, OH 44115
 
    or
 
    Prof. T.G. Bishop
    Dept of English
    Case Western Reserve University
    Cleveland, OH 44106
 
    Abstracts may also be submitted by email to Dr. Bishop at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
    Enquiries or request for information should be addressed also to the above.
 
    The deadline for submission is DECEMBER 15, 1992.
 
    --
    Tom Bishop                   "Poor Tom has been scared out of his good wits"
    Dept of English
    Case Western Reserve University
    Cleveland, OH 44106.  (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

Q: Changing the Gender of Shakespearean Characters

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 3, No. 246.  Sunday, 11 October 1992.
 
From: 		David Alan Grier <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Sunday, Oct. 11, 1992, 13:11:33 EDT
Subject:	[Query: Changing Gender of Shakespearean Characters]
 
A query:
 
    How common is it to change the gender of Shakepearean characters?  A friend
is producing *Hamlet* for the university.  In an attempt to find more roles for
women, he switched the genders of several characters.  As I'm not directly
involved, I'm not sure of all the switches, but Hamlet, Laertes and Polonius
are women and Ophelia is a man.  He approached it as a problem of casting the
leads.  He decided to match the best actors to the main parts, regardless of
gender, then adjust the remainder.  Any history or comments will be appreciated
 
 
David Grier
Director, University Honors Program
George Washington University
Assistant Professor, Computer and Information Systems

PNRC Call for Papers

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 3, No. 244.  Saturday, 10 October 1992.
 
From:		Hardy M. Cook <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:		Saturday, Oct. 10, 1992
Subject: 	PNRC call for papers
 
[The following announcement recently appeared on FICINO.  --hmc]
 
Call for papers for the
 
PACIFIC NORTHWEST RENAISSANCE CONFERENCE
University of British Columbia (Vancouver, B.C) 25-27 March 1993
 
Conference topic: "The Reader, the Subject, and the Self in Early Modern Europe
 
Plenary Speakers:
 
Brian Stock -- "On Readers and the Problem of Reading in the Early Renaissance"
 
Eva Kushner __ "The Emergence of the Paradoxical Self"
 
David Harris Sacks -- "Articulations of the Self in Late Elizabethan England:
                       The Aristocrat, the Pauper and the 'Middling Sort'"
 
Papers are invited on all aspects of the culture of early modern Europe, c. 1300
-1700.  Submissions relevant to the theme of "The Reader, the Subject and the
Self" will be eligible for consideration by the editors of a special issue of
_Studies in Medieval and Renaissance History_.
 
Completed papers, no longer than 10 pages or 20 minutes' reading time,
accompanied by an abstract of 200-300 words and details of any audio-visual
needs, should reach the organizers by 8 January 1993.
 
Acceptances will be made in early February.
 
Address papers and inquiries to the following:
 
Mark Vessey
Department of English, UBC
397-1873 East Mall
Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z1
(604) 822-4095
 
Nancy Frelick
Department of French, UBC
797-1873 East Mall
Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z1
(604) 822-4031
e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
Daniela Boccassini
Department of Hispanic and Italian Studies, UBC
1866 Main Mall
Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z1
(604) 822-4436

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