Shakespeare in a female voice

2018-07-03 06:01

In a modern twist to a classic, expect to see an all female cast to the Shakespearean play, Othello.

When the plays were first released in the 1600s, it featured an all male cast playing the roles of both men and women.

In this version, however, the roles have been reversed and is set in a more modern, female prison setting.

“I’ve always imagined Iago as a queer woman and I decided that it would be even better to put together an all-female cast of the play with women playing women. Within a few months, I had my co-director and cast and before we knew it, rehearsals had started. The process has been very quick. I think that is due to the incredible production team and cast. A prison setting just made sense.

“It automatically establishes that the cast is all- female and the prison setting also enhances the themes of jealousy, power and racism which are rife throughout the play,” says co-director Regina Malan.

“We changed the patriarchy theme to rather investigate more around the power struggles in prison, and the characters address each other as female so as to not confuse the audience or ourselves. We are playing women after all. The rest of the themes in the traditional text are still the same, and even though we are all women playing women, we are still telling a human story at the end of the day.”

The show is produced by Mish Mash Media Productions, which was founded by Adolph de Beer and Malan last year.

Together the two have co-directed the play which will run until Sunday.

The aim of the company is to fill a gap in the theatre scene by highlighting LGBTQ themes and characters in 80% of their productions, empowering those who they feel still have no voice.

Using a blend of technology and live performances, the company merges different mediums of art to tell real stories.

“Representation is very important to me. Growing up I would have loved to have seen an all-female cast or LGBTQ characters in an adaptation of a well-known play. There are so many iconic and meaty male characters in Shakespeare’s plays and I feel that with this adaptation, we can open people’s eyes and show them that it is possible to still tell the story no matter the gender or sex of the characters,” says Malan.

“The themes in our adaptation do just that. We empower women while also presenting the similarities that will find between same-sex relationships, as well as heterosexual relationships.”

Expect themes of love, abuse or power struggles and non-romantic relationships and the power of sisterly love.

“In a modern world these themes are very important and in showing this we highlight the human condition. When it comes down to it, we all just want to be loved,” she adds.

Run time for the show is two hours and 30 minutes, cut down tremendously from the original play while following the original play’s flow, with the Shakespearean language­.

“The only minor changes are a few slang words added here and there to enhance the believability of the prison setting. Yes, there are a few surprises in-store for the audience, but you’ll have to come watch to find out.”V The play will be on stage at the Galloway Theatre from Wednesday 4 to Sunday 8 July. Tickets cost between R100 and R190 per person and are available via www.waterfronttheatreschool.co.za.

In a modern twist to a classic, expect to see an all female cast to the Shakespearean play, Othello.

When the plays were first released in the 1600s, it featured an all male cast playing the roles of both men and women.

In this version, however, the roles have been reversed and is set in a more modern, female prison setting.

“I’ve always imagined Iago as a queer woman and I decided that it would be even better to put together an all-female cast of the play with women playing women. Within a few months, I had my co-director and cast and before we knew it, rehearsals had started.

“The process has been very quick. I think that is due to the incredible production team and cast. A prison setting just made sense.

“It automatically establishes that the cast is all- female and the prison setting also enhances the themes of jealousy, power and racism which are rife throughout the play,” says co-director Regina Malan­.

“We changed the patriarchy theme to rather investigate more around the power struggles in prison, and the characters address each other as female so as to not confuse the audience or ourselves. We are playing women after all. The rest of the themes in the traditional text are still the same, and even though we are all women playing women, we are still telling a human story at the end of the day.”

The show is produced by Mish Mash Media Productions, which was founded by Adolph de Beer and Malan last year.

Together the two have co-directed the play which will run until Sunday.

The aim of the company is to fill a gap in the theatre scene by highlighting LGBTQ themes and characters in 80% of their productions, empowering those who they feel still have no voice.

Using a blend of technology and live performances, the company merges different mediums of art to tell real stories.

“Representation is very important to me. Growing up I would have loved to have seen an all-female cast or LGBTQ characters in an adaptation of a well-known play.

“There are so many iconic and meaty male characters in Shakespeare’s plays and I feel that with this adaptation, we can open people’s eyes and show them that it is possible to still tell the story no matter the gender or sex of the characters,” says Malan.

“The themes in our adaptation do just that. We empower women while also presenting the similarities that will find between same-sex relationships, as well as heterosexual relationships.”

Expect themes of love, abuse or power struggles and non-romantic relationships and the power of sisterly love.

“In a modern world these themes are very important and in showing this we highlight the human condition. When it comes down to it, we all just want to be loved,” she adds.

Run time for the show is two hours and 30 minutes, cut down tremendously from the original play while following the original play’s flow, with the Shakespearean language­.

“The only minor changes are a few slang words added here and there to enhance the believability of the prison setting.

“Yes, there are a few surprises in-store for the audience, but you’ll have to come watch to find out,” she says.V The play will be on stage at the Galloway Theatre from Wednesday 4 to Sunday 8 July. Tickets cost between R100 and R190 per person and are available via www.waterfronttheatreschool.co.za.

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