The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.1455 Monday, 7 August 2000.
Date: Sunday, 30 Jul 2000 11:05:41 -0400
Subject: 11.1437 En-gendering 'The Tempest'
Comment: Re: SHK 11.1437 En-gendering 'The Tempest'
In June, I saw the Globe's Tempest with Vanessa Redgrave as part of
Joanne Walen's wonderful Shakespeare Express Stratford summerfest
(shameless plug). We were a group of some 20 Shakespeare addicts, fans,
and scholars feasting on "an orgy of theatregoing", almost all
I think as a group, we were all puzzled at the choices made in the
Redgrave production. She is a marvelous actress, absolutely magnetic on
the stage, and easily capable of imbuing the text with wonderful life.
She was an absolutely believable male, and while some thought that she
made Prospero's parenting of Miranda more tender and more
understandable, I at least couldn't puzzle out why it was done that way
(other than of course the star power she brought).
Which is not to say that there weren't gender issues in this production
-- there were, but they were certainly Ariel's. Ariel began an
uniformed young man, costumed in a tunic and boots, being impish,
certainly, but almost entirely masculine. As the play progressed, Ariel
got less masculine, more androgynous, and then, at the end, left the
stage dressed unmistakably as a young woman, went down among the
groundlings and left the theatre towards her own brave new world.