Female Direction of Shakespeare's As You Like It

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Female Direction of As You Like It

In As You Like It, Jaques states that "All the world's a stage,/ And all the men and women in it merely players./ They have they're exits and their entrances,/ And one man in his time plays many parts" (II, vii, 138-141). That very well might be true. But if life is a stage traditionally controlled by a man, what parts does that leave for the women of the world? The female answer to this question is that if you don't like your part, change it, and if you don't like the direction, follow someone else. And that is exactly what all-female Shakespeare does. It explores roles for women, roles that women don't traditionally get to play. All-female productions of Shakespeare, as well as female-directed Shakespeare, differ from tradition productions. Female-centered shows tend to revolve around the idea that gender matters, but it does not matter any more than age, politics, socio-economic concerns, or any other defining characteristics found in any given person. Female directors tend to want to stretch the meaning in Shakespeare's plays, be radical, new, and expansive. Female directors gravitate toward a conception of the show filled with characters that happen to be specific genders, not gendered people who happen to be individuals. This makes the theme of the play revolve more around relationships and not around gender stereotypes and a confirmation of traditional gender constructs. Clearly, gender does matter to female directors. However, gender is only another means of adding dimension to a character. For female directors, the characters' relationships are more important than their gender, and it is through the exploration of gender that these directors seek to push limits and expand bo...

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