The Lawrence Inclusive Theatre (LIT) held a Gender, Identity and Shakespeare student-led discussion on Sunday, Feb. 4 from 11 a.m. to noon. This was the first discussion of potentially several more to come.
LIT is an inclusive outreach organization for theatre on campus. “We want to come together as a community in conversation with the works that are being done on campus and in the theatrical world at large to talk about any subject that refers to theater and specifically inclusivity in theatre,” sophomore and copresident Caro Granner explained the purpose of the club. “This discussion is a trial run of what future events might look like in the coming terms.”
The discussion was centered around the article “The Cross-Gender Casting of Great Shakespearean Characters” by Sarah Hemming, published in the Financial Times in 2014. The article discusses casting female actors in male character roles in many of Shakespeare’s plays and the importance of representation of women on-stage in these classic productions.
Students in attendance discussed their own experiences with gender on-stage as well as productions they have seen and heard of that worked with gender-bending the characters, all-female casts and other character alterations made in Shakespearean plays. Opinions were also voiced about how to change specific characters in specific works to give the audience a new perspective on old classics.
Lawrence’s Department of Theatre Arts is putting on Shakespeare’s The Tempest February 15 to 17 and, themselves, are taking liberties with the characters, gender-bending a few to add a twist to the original work.
The Lawrence Inclusive Theatre meets in Cloak Theatre ever Sunday at 3 p.m. They are currently planning future inclusivity in theatre discussions similar in style, but different in topic for the upcoming terms. For more information regarding the club and its involvement on campus, please contact copresident Granner and sophomore Samantha Torres or faculty advisor and James G. and Ethel M. Barber Professor of Theatre and Drama and Associate Professor of Theatre Arts Kathy Privatt.