The perks of cross casting

So no its not a fad its been going on since theatre started. There are many arguments and stances about how we cast regarding gender especially concerning Shakespeare. The Globe wants to do what they refer to as traditional or historical casting of the female roles If they stayed true to historic accounts they would be casting boys no older than 17. We do not cast in this way so we say we are casting in the “spirit” of the Elizabethan theatre. Fine, and then do the same with an all female cast. The audience can come and see the work in two very different ways and find something new in each rendition.

What does casting in this way open up or allow the actor to experience? And again why not start to do it in reverse as several theatres have done and continue to do.


Shakespeare Trilogy review – Donmar’s phenomenal all-female …

https://www.theguardian.com › Arts › Stage › Theatre

Smooth Faced Gentlemen: the all-female Shakespeare co.



How do we apply this concept to contemporary theatre? Currently the company that I founded and now is in the process of moving forward in a new space is about to launch an all female cast of Glengarry Glenn Ross by Mamet. The stipulation from Mamet is that they present themselves as women and not portray the characters to be men. So this is cross casting in a contemporary setting.

Keri Gudjohnsen the director has been wanting to do this project for more than just a little while. I asked why, as those who know me know my views on this playwright, her answer was very clear. “No one writes this way for women.” She is right no one does, there are some great women playwrights out there and some write very gritty and forceful roles for women but nothing to my knowledge of this veracity.

Viewing this world through a different gendered lens opens up a great deal of the content and relationships and brings fresh life to the work.

What does this accomplish? It gives us a window into how we view gendered behavior and what that says about us as a whole in society. Our self imposed gendered boxes get pushed out of shape for the evening and we have to listen and adapt to the work being offered.

The concept of a binary gendered system is being broken down by a new generation of human beings who do not see themselves or the world in a two-color palate. As artists we should be embracing this movement not only to keep theatre relevant to the world we function in, but also to challenge the actors to explore their craft with roles and concepts that challenge them and make them stronger artists, and hopefully people.

As to the production of Glengarry Glenn Ross I have great faith in Keri’s ability to bring this to life, she is driven to do so. I have had the great opportunity to work with her not only as a company member but also under her direction in film. She is focused and clear, I have no doubt the production will be as well.




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