Cross-dressing is a recurrent theme in Shakespeare's comedies, and the theatrical trend of gender bending casting has added an extra layer of complexity to performing his work. How does the gender of the actor affect the performance of a role in Shakespeare? How does it affect the perception of the role, and how can an actor utilize that perception to connect more fully with the audience? How does the female perspective illuminate hitherto unexplored elements of Shakespeare's text and characters? I was inspired by Orlando Shakes' all male production of Twelfth Night to research gender theory in relation to classical texts. I was largely inspired by Judith Butler's theories of gender performance, and herein use feminist and gender theory as a lens to view Shakespeare's work. I put on my own production of an All-Female Twelfth Night in which I played Viola. This thesis is an exploration of my process as a scholar, actor, and activist in the context of that production. It follows the journey from page to praxis, as I attempt to apply academic theories to live theatre. It is my intent that this will serve as a possible roadmap for future gender bending in Shakespeare productions, and to empower female theatre makers in that process.
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Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
Theatre; Acting Track
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Lee, Amanda, "Gender Performance in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night" (2019). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2004-2019. 6367.