Women: Under the Corset
Women’s History: Playing with Gender
By Simi Horwitz of BACKSTAGE
March 14, 2003
what extent there’s a new woman-or, indeed, a new vision of
women-represented onstage is perhaps up for grabs. Has political
correctness died? Have old taboos given way to a new batch? ….
eight years, the Judith Shakespeare Company has been playing with
gender in Shakespeare, in some cases turning male characters into
women, other times creating a fully gender-reversed world. In their
latest offering-Shakespeare Unplugged: The History Cycle”
at the Jose Quintero Theatre-the company is experimenting with gender
blind casting, although all the monarchs and pretenders to the throne
are played by women.
Night Live” mode, “Shakespeare’s Women: Under
the Corset” at the American Theatre of Actors takes an array
of Shakespearean women out of the confines of their plays and gives
them a forum to meet and share and vent-and, in at least one instance,
a character finds a new playwright to write her story.
from ‘Taming of the Shrew,’ for example decides that
Shakespeare is not really telling her story right,” observes
Jessica Lanius, creator of the project. “Instead she decides
to end up in Ibsen’s ‘A Doll House.’
“The play is a behind-the-scenes look at these women, including
Rosalind, Helena, Julia, Kate, Isabella, Ophelia, Juliet and Lady
Macbeth,” continues Lanius “Each of these characters
talks about who she is, her choices, what went wrong in her life,
and what she’d like to happen next. These are eight separate
stories that exemplify women’s journey through life. I add
contemporary text and song.”….