While I saw Fiona Shaw as Richard II and she was a perfectly convincing King, I am not sure about Henry VI being female, marrying a Duchess and having a son and heir of somebody's loins. Colour-blind casting can hit the same problem with blood relations (though the Brannah Much Ado movie did well with half-brothers). Then again, gender-swapping Margaret would rather take away the point of the 'She Wolf of France' who has to take on a traditionally male role to make up for her useless husband.
In some contexts you can gender swap characters very well: I think Lear is rather improved if its Duchess of Kent puts on boys clothes and pretends to be a yokel. I don't have any problem with "This character is a male king but the actor just happens to be a woman": I think everyone apart from Quentin Letts understands that this is how theatre sometimes works. The very elderly Ian McKellen recently played an age-blind Hamlet, and Patrick Stewart said he would have been up for playing Ophelia in the smae production. (Patrick Stewart has done a colour-blind Othello, obviously without makeup.) There is a company putting on Love's Labour's Lost "as it would have been done in Shakespeare's time" -- i.e with all the female parts played my men; and that would be very interesting as well.
Post a Comment