Shakespeare America will present a special event entitled, “The Woman’s Part in Shakespeare” at Southern Oregon University on Saturday, April 22 from 1 to 4 pm in the Meese Room in Hannon Library. The event will include a performance by Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) actress Robin Goodrin Nordli of her acclaimed one-woman show, “Virgins to Villains: My Journey with Shakespeare’s Women,” as well as a panel discussion featuring Lisa Wolpe, director of the Los Angeles Women’s Shakespeare Company. There is no admission charge.
According to David McCandless, Director of Shakespeare’s Studies at SOU and organizer of the event, “The Woman’s Part in Shakespeare” will address the challenges of being a female performer of Shakespeare’s plays. “Robin’s show addresses that topic in a uniquely personal way,” he explains, “and the panelists will also consider how being a woman in 2017 shapes their approach to characters created over 400 years ago – especially those women considered shrewish or villainous.” Additionally, the panel will discuss “the rewards and risks of women taking on male roles.” Wolpe is a specialist in cross-gender performance who, according to American Theatre magazine, has played more Shakespearean male roles than any woman in history.
Joining Wolpe on the panel are OSF actress Christiana Clark, who has played both male and female Shakespearean characters, including Proteus in The Two Gentlemen of Verona and Beatrice in Much Ado
About Nothing, and Dawn Monique Williams, OSF Artistic Associate whose upcoming production of The Merry Wives of Windsor will feature many women in male roles, including that of Falstaff. Professor Pamela Brown, a Shakespeare scholar from the University of Connecticut, will kick off the event with a brief lecture on Shakespearean actresses from a historical perspective, entitled “For what’s a play without a woman in it?”