Theatre talk puts gendered roles in the spotlight
Viola. Portia. Rosalind. Imogen. Long before there were gender-reversed remakes, Shakespeare was blurring gender lines on the stage, though in his time, that meant having a male actor play a female character (who might then pretend to be a man).
And in performing his plays, theatre companies have been defying gender assumptions for centuries. This year’s Stratford Festival, for instance, features a gender-fluid Comedy of Errors, and has veteran actors Martha Henry playing Prospero in The Tempest and Seana McKenna playing the title role in Julius Caesar.
On Monday, Sept. 24, Henry and McKenna joined CBC broadcaster Eleanor Wachtel on campus for a conversation on their experiences of “Gender-bending in Shakespeare” at the annual John Douglas Taylor Conference, presented by McMaster’s Faculty of Humanities and the Socrates Project.