Whispers from the Wings

International Women's Day

March 27, 2012

Pippa Nixon playing The Bastard with Director Maria Aberg in rehearsalIn the run up to International Women's Day some of our female cast and creatives have been interviewed for the RSC website, to talk about women and theatre. (No, I wasn't invited, but who's bitter about that?)

Most Shakespeare plays (and most plays in general, come to that) contain far more male parts than female parts. And the women are always 'the women roles': Leading Lady, Mother, Wife, Daughter, Sister, etc. Even Shakespeare's meatiest women are not a patch on Hamlet, or Richard III for dramatic material.

I often hear the pseudo-feminist line of 'We need more women in x industry because women bring caution, collaboration, conflict-solving skills' etc.

In our version of King John, the roles of Cardinal Pandulph, and the Bastard have been cast as women. And do you know what the best thing about this is? It's that it doesn't have any conceptual implications for who those characters are.

Women are equally capable of wielding power in a direct, articulate way, of being adrenaline-thirsty, loyal fighters, and game for adventure. This is not a play about women, it is a play about power and leadership, the women are simply part of the fight.

International Women's Day video

Photo: Pippa Nixon playing The Bastard with Director Maria Aberg in rehearsal for King John.

by Sophie Ivatts  |  No comments yet

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Teaching Shakespeare