Lisa Wolpe as director, and Classic Chic Productions, brought a terrific women-only interpretation of “The Winter’s Tale” to Vancouver last year.
Women-only theatre productions can be done in two ways: either typically male characters are made female, or women play male characters. Both can work very well.
This year, we have two innovative Shakespeare-inspired productions: the musical “Miss Shakespeare” with Music TheatreWorks and “J, Caesar” (a futuristic) adaptation of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar), both by Chelsea Hotel co-creator Tracey Power. I strongly suspect that Virginia Woolf’s essay “A Room of One’s Own”, which details the impossible obstacles and tribulations that a hypothetical sister of Shakespeare would face should she have tried making her career in the theatrical world, is a strong influence. In Miss Shakespeare, Judyth Shakespeare, an imagined daughter of Shakespeare, These productions bring female characters played by women to the fore.
As a separate production, Classic Chic Productions is bringing acclaimed playwright David Mamet’s “Glengarry Glen Ross” to Beaumont Studios in June. David Mamet’s works always send shivers through me and set my teeth on edge, because they so perfectly depict horror in everyday situations. Can women actors convincingly portray Levene, George, and others? I have no doubt, and I want to see them do it. Glengarry Glen Ross is a theatrical staple, and I am really looking forward to this innovative presentation. In this case, the women play male characters. Based on how Classic Chic Productions did last year with “A Winter’s Tale”, I expect exceptional performances. You will forget the gender of the actor, as the character comes fully to the fore. Jason Reitman tried this idea a couple years ago as a reading with superstar women actors, to great acclaim:
Miss Shakespeare and J. Caesar play in repertory at, Performance Works, May 5-18. and at the Kay Meek Centre from May 21-29. Make sure to check what play is playing which night.
Glengarry Glen Ross, Beaumont Studios, June 5 – 27