This was a conversation starter with Laura Hill-Leigh on the way back from one of our rehearsals. It started with an idea I have about producing a 5 person production of Othello and that I’ve always been jealous of the fact that I would have loved to have played Iago but for the fact I’m not a man.
This then lead into a full discussion about how that would work and what are the connotations of women playing male roles in classics. There has been an increase in such work with the Donmar Warehouse being highly regarded for their all female cast of Julius Caesar. But I feel uncomfortable as a female director just offering the roles to women, I don’t like limiting castings anyway and have had men and women in different ages and roles if they have been able to portray the character and tell the story well. I myself have performed as a 60yr old man for a short play and although I’m not saying no one could tell I was a woman (who as actually 10wks pregnant at the time) but it didn’t seem to detract from the idea of the character or the story.
This all led into a discussion about open gender castings, and how do performers and audiences feel about such performances? Does it have to affect the gender of the role? Does it have to change the story in anyway? Is it role specific, as one of my performers commented, how can Aaron the Moor in Titus Andronicus be anything other than a black man as he impregnates Tamora? But then can’t a woman play a man in the same way men have played women for hundreds of years? So I’m opening it up to you...what are your thoughts and ideas on this?
With reports of 2:1 (men : women) ratios in theatre (http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2012/dec/10/women-in-theatre-research-full-results
Please get in touch with your thoughts and comments... (any inappropriate comments shall be instantly removed)