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Queering Gender and Sexuality in Performance
What does the queering of gender and sexuality in Shakespeare's plays look like in performance? What is that process like for actors and directors? The articles below provide a good starting place for answers to those questions.
Hamlet, Thy Name is Woman: Why Michelle Terry's Globe is Staging Post-Gender Shakespeare
By Natasha Tripney.
This article from the British online newspaper The Independent is a profile of two productions at the Globe theatre during their 2018 season. Under the guidance of new artistic director Michelle Terry, the same ensemble performed Hamlet and As You Like It in repertory, and roles were cast with the idea that the gender identities of a character and the actor who plays that character do not have to match. The article includes in-depth quotes from Terry and several of the ensemble’s actors, and is a solid introduction to a very recent experiment with “post-gender” or “all-gender” Shakespeare.
Many Bodies, Many Voices: Performing Androgyny in Fiona Shaw and Deborah Warner’s Richard II
By Elizabeth Klett.
Klett’s article in Theatre Journal analyzes a 1995 production of Richard II in which Fiona Shaw played the title role. The production provoked a highly divisive critical response, in which there was little consensus on how Shaw-as-Richard’s gender presentation should be understood. Klett argues that such ambiguity was the production’s point, and that Shaw presented an androgynous Richard, which led to a queering of the relationship between the characters of Richard and Bolingbroke that did not fall into an easily defined category. The article provides not only in-depth analysis of a specific production rooted in a specific time and place, but a solid introduction to queer theory concepts such as androgyny and gender construction.
Past, Present, Future, and the Transgender Shakespeare Company
By Robin Craig.
This short article by one of the founders of the Transgender Shakespeare Company describes the company’s founding and creative processes. Despite a growth in queer Shakespeare studies over the past two decades, the transgender community is often left out of both scholarship and performances. The Transgender Shakespeare Company provides a space for transgender actors to participate in Shakespeare-focused acting workshops, while also fostering an inter-generational trans community. This article is most relevant to performance studies, particularly for its comments on how transgender actors are excluded in the industry, and how spaces and processes can be made more accessible, inclusive, and safe.