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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: January ::
Re: Lovely Garnish
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.041  Wednesday, 8 January 2003

From:           Cary M. Mazer <
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Date:           Tuesday, 07 Jan 2003 09:08:33 -0500
Subject: 14.034 Re: Lovely Garnish
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.034 Re: Lovely Garnish

>There are two good reasons for Jessica to dress like a boy:
>
>1. The actor was a boy, and would have been more comfortable in boy's
>clothing whenever possible.  Especially if he has to climb out of a
>window.
>
>2. Changing gender is a particularly effective disguise, I should
>think.  Anyone looking for Jessica would be looking for a girl.

Might I suggest some additional (modern) actor opportunities for
Jessica's cross-dressing:  that Jessica's uncertainty and shame of
crossing clothing-coded boundaries of gender correspond to her
justifiable apprehensiveness about crossing clothing-coded boundaries of
ethnicity and religion.  If you want to look at this more positively,
from an early-modern perspective, one could argue instead that just as
Jessica's cross-dressing celebrates that gender identity (in the
theatre, at least) is performative, so too is religious identity and
ethnic identity performative.  (I prefer the former reading; but, then
again, I find it hard to accept any cheerful readings of that play).

Cary

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