The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.0119 Wednesday, 19 January 2000.
Date: Tuesday, 18 Jan 2000 10:38:40 -0800
Subject: Redgrave at the Globe
>From Yahoo entertainment news, dated 1/18/00.
>>> Tuesday January 18 7:58 AM ET
Vanessa Redgrave Cross-Dresses for Shakespeare
By Paul Majendie
LONDON (Reuters) - Vanessa Redgrave will even things up for actresses at
Britain's Globe Theater by playing Prospero, the Duke of Milan, in
Shakespeare's ``The Tempest''
``Bless her. She has more courage than most to come and do it. This is a
pretty challenging space,'' Globe artistic director Mark Rylance told
Last season, Rylance dressed up as a woman to play Cleopatra at the
exquisite copy of the original wooden playhouse in London and close to
the site that first rang with the Bard's plays 400 years ago.
``I had promised to rebalance after the nicking (stealing) of Cleopatra
from the women,'' he quipped at a press conference giving details of the
millennium season at the theater on the banks of the River Thames
opposite St Paul's Cathedral.
The Globe, the brainchild of late U.S. actor-director Sam Wanamaker, has
proved a roaring success with theater-goers. Rylance said the box office
topped three million pounds ($4.9 million) last year with 89 percent
Redgrave, who first saw her famous father playing Prospero at Stratford
back in the '50s, was unable to attend Tuesday's press launch because
doctors have banned her from speaking to give her damaged vocal chords a
chance to heal.
But the classical actress, famed as much for her left-wing views as she
is for her extraordinary presence on stage, did send a message.
``My dream is coming true. The Globe is Prospero's island and thank you
for inviting me to it,'' she said. ``I have a damaged vocal chord which
means I am forced to rest during the day.''
Rylance felt that casting cross-gender worked particularly well at The
Globe, an intimate space where the ``groundling'' audience standing in
the open air theater interacted powerfully with the players.
He revealed that he had to put up with some barracking for his
``What is wrong with real women?'' one man shouted. ``Why do we have to
The artistic director, who will play Hamlet in the Globe's other big
summer production, is clearly fascinated by the idea of cross-dressing,
an echo of Shakespeare's days when young boys would play women.
And he even revealed that he had asked Dame Judi Dench, one of Britain's
most famous actresses, to play Brutus in an all-female version of
``She told me she didn't like Roman gear,'' Rylance said.