Monday, December 04, 2006

Response to article below

I really despise Desdemona and Ophelia and Juliet. They are pathetic. All of them could have taken their fates in their own hands and said 'No thank you, I think I can do better' and rode off into the sunset. Instead they die tragic deaths because, ultimately, they do what they are told. Desdemona just lies there and lets her husband strangle her (as you do), Ophelia goes insane and kills herself because Hamlet doesn't love her anymore (teen angst if ever there was some), and Juliet kills herself because she didn't have sense to run off with Romeo when he got banished. The only reason I wanted any one of those parts when I was acting at University was because those parts (thoses types of role) always go to the skinny pretty girls who don't necessarily act very well, but who look the part. So basically, being cast as 'Juliet' is like some male director going 'yeah, you're pretty', and I know a lot of girls needed that self-esteem boost (I know I did at the time).
Now, I like this article, because what it's saying is that this sort of stereotype works the other way. The only interesting strong women in theatre (or at least the main contenders for the title) are murderers. In other words, only by acting 'anti-feminine' can a female role be considered equal to a man's. I know this is an age-old feminist argument, but I think it proves the point here. You get anti-heros all the time for male actors, characters who aren't kings or soldiers but everyday Joes who go through something tragic. No one cares about Willy Loman's wife (for example), who also goes through tragedy. Sure, if she'd have killed her husband then she'd be one of the all time greatest female roles in history, but she doesn't.
I'm trying to come up with my 'point', and it's difficult because obviously being a woman, and acting on occasion, I would love to create a role (or even better several roles) for women where they weren't passive but at the same time they didn't have to pull the trigger, stab someone through the heart or poision anyone to be considered meaty roles. How to do that though seems trickier than it should be.


Robin Johnson said...

Othello strangles his wife on the word of a fellow with (if the director has *any* sense of loyalty to Shakespeare's intentions) a skintight black suit and a panto-villain moustache. Hamlet goes insane and kills everyone because it's less effort than just stabbing his uncle in the back in Act 2. Romeo kills himself because he didn't have sense to run off with Juliet when he got banished.

Lucy Ann Wade said...

Well, yes they all did. But there are more so called 'rounded' male characters than there are female characters in drama, which was the point I was getting at. And at least Hamlet had a bit of complexity, as annoying as he is as a character (I think Romeo is pathetic too, but there you go).

Sabrina Mei-Li Smith said...

I agree with Lucy, the problem with litrature is that women are typecast into very restrictive roles. A problem with trying to create a character that don't fit into the rolls allready created is that some fool comes along and attempts to force them into them, quite like cindrellas ugly sisters and hte glass slipper, and then some bigger fools actually agree with them (bit like the mob that Gaston in Beauty and the Beast raises... no, one... drinks like Gaston, no, one thinks like Gaston, noones head is incredibly big as a bit carried away there!!!)