He Who Plays the ...[Queen]

Ronan Paterson

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When William Shakespeare created some of the most memorable female characters in all of world theatre he had no realistic possibility that he would ever see those parts played by women. Instead he wrote for male members of the company, who played female roles. The roles themselves, therefore, were influenced by this fact in their creation, which also affected their reception by audiences. Since 1660 Shakespeare's female roles have most commonly been played by women, but the increasing frequency of gender reversal and gender blind casting has offered fascinating insights into the very different statuses and relationships between men and women as society, both on and off stage has moved on. This article explores ways in which the playing of different roles by differently gendered actors has changed the playing of, and the reception of, some of Shakespeare's dramas.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBorrowers and Lenders: The Journal of Shakespeare and Appropriation
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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