The Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare
Silicon Valley Shakespeare
Directed by Angie Higgins
First day of school… first job… first kiss… it doesn’t matter what it is, if it’s a first for you, it will always have a special place in your memory.
Since I made the decision last summer to include an all-female production as part of our 2015 summer season, I’ve been excited. Thrilled, in fact. You might be thinking, “So, what’s the big deal, Angie? It’s not like you’re the first theatre company to have an all-female show.” And you’d be right… all-female productions of Shakespeare may not be a ground breaking new idea, but for Silicon Valley Shakespeare, it’s a first. In my book, that makes it inherently special and is cause to celebrate.
I’ve had a few people ask me, “How are these women going to be able to play the male roles?” From my perceptive, I see them as actors playing characters vs. women playing men. It think it is just as viable for a woman to do character study and take on a character’s physicality to play a male role successfully as it was for men to do so taking on female characters in Shakespeare’s time. In opening more roles to women, we are providing an arena for these performers to showcase their talent in whatever role they embody once the costume and makeup are on, be it male or female.
You may be aware of the abundance of strong roles classical theatre has to offer men and that these great stage works do not always afford many opportunities to women if traditionally cast. SVS has a history of making great effort in reverse casting roles to increase the gender equality in shows, but this is the first time we’ve committed to an entirely female cast. Is it exciting to make a decision to offer fifteen out of the fifteen roles in this show to women, instead of the five if cast traditionally? To not have to turn away so many talented women at auditions because there just aren’t enough roles? To be able to say that out of the 47 actors cast across our three shows this summer that 28 of them are women? Absolutely!