Sunday, March 10, 2019

Happy #SwanSunday (Part Two)!!

Happy Swan Sunday (Take Two)!!
Nebraska Shakspeare's Director of Education
Katie Becker Colón. #whyIswan #shesthecoolest
For this second #SwanSunday of our #FemaleForward2019 season, we are going highlight more female actors that have stepped into traditionally male roles in Shakespeare plays. Excitingly, there were quite a number to choose from (yay!), most notably, Tamsin Greig's Malvolio for The National Theatre and Harriet Walter's Prospero for St. Ann's Warehouse both produced in 2017. These brave and breathtaking performances prepped set the stage (#literally) for additional dynamic performances in 2018. Last #SWANSUNDAY, we explored the history of female Hamlets (#foreshadowing), so this week we are going to focus on the most recent women living large in Shakespeare's other title roles.
An all-female production of Bring Down the House (Henry VI trilogy) in 2017 lead to Sarah Harlett starring in the role of Richard III to complete the historical arc. The production was produced by Seattle Shakespeare Company with artists from upstart crow collective. Seattle Weekly said, of the company's foray in to female led productions, “When female actors have the chance to collaborate, it benefits the entire Seattle theater community, raising the standard of production to a bold new level.” Ummmmm. Yup. I agree with that. (Side note: If you want more women reading Richard III, join us for Coupled & Inseparable: A Discussion of Gender(less) Shakespeare Wednesday, March 13th at 6:30pm on UNO Campus!)

New York's Public Theatre is known for its creative and daring Shakespeare. Their Mobile Unit (touring production) of Henry V starring Zenzi Williams as Henry was no exception. The company performed for 3 weeks in New York City's correctional facilities, homeless shelters, social service organizations, and other community venues, before completing a 5-week run of FREE performances at The Public Theatre. “The casting of the engaging Zenzi Williams, an African-American actress, as Henry, a canny move that makes us ask some useful questions about whom we expect to see leading an army and rocking a crown. Ms. Williams can do both, handily. It's unclear whether she's playing the part as male or female. It's extraneous, too. Gender doesn't seem to matter to this production.”--New York Times.

Golda Rosheuvel starred as Othello with the Liverpool's Everyman Company in 2018. This production presented the relationship of Othello and Desdemona as multi-racial, lesbian marriage. “In changing the gender of Othello - making the character is a woman who has excelled in what is clearly very much a man's world - the stakes are raised, and the evening speaks to present-day workplace politics.”- The Guardian 
(Female Othello?  Hmmmm. That is a good idea.What are we producing for tour this year... #bloghints #insidescoop)

In 2018, Bard on the Beach's Timon of Athens presented Colleen Wheeler in the titular role of Timon. The extremely contemporary production, at the Douglas Campbell theatre in Vancouver, was critically well-received and, most notably, not one review I could find focused on the gender of the cast. #pleasantlysurprised #niceworkcanada

Join us next week as we [swan] dive into our third #SWANSSUNDAY and explore the history of the all-female Shakespeare production.
Want to see a female actor take on the role of Timon first hand? Of course you do! Join us on April 6th at 3pm at Gallery 1516 for Nebraska Shakespeare's Reading Series of Timon of Athens!

Print off your own "Why I SWAN" sign, fill in reasons for why you supporting women artists, and post it to social media.  
Use Hashtags #WhyISWAN and #FemaleForward2019 and we will include it in our social media on 
SWAN DAY (March 30th).

No comments:

Post a Comment