A revival of an old tradition in the playing of Shakespeare has been rocking stages around the world: cross-gender casting. Shakespeare’s plays were originally performed by men and boys. But when the Globe Theater’s all male double bill of Twelfth Night and Richard III hit Broadway in 2013, theatergoers screamed with delight. Similarly, when Phyllida Lloyd and Harriet Walter teamed up for an all-female Shakespearean trilogy—Julius Caesar, Henry IV, and The Tempest – audiences went wild. What power, edge, comedy, and tenderness were captured by two women playing father and daughter. In this course, we will explore how to unlock a text in terms of language, imagery, form, structure, rhythm, and sound. Through exercises we will work to expand the actor’s physical and vocal instrument, as well as emotional and dramatic power. We will practice listening, the art of orchestration, and playing actions. Working on monologues and scenes from a variety of plays, actors will be encouraged to play any role regardless of gender. The course may culminate in a final presentation.
Corequisites: Dance or Drama lab assignment