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Saturday, May 28, 2016

Murdering Shakespeare to Push an Agenda!

No wonder Kate couldn't get a husband!
I'm on Travelzoo's mailing list so they send me info about local deals. Today I got one for 50% off The Taming of the Shrew at the Shakespeare Theater in D.C. Being a Shakespeare enthusiast, I immediately checked out the deal and, lo and behold, it's Shakespeare in drag. All the parts are being played by men. The two major female leads, Kate and Bianca, are played by...well...what can I say. Iskandar certainly didn't go for their looks.


Reading about the production led me to examine the background of the director, Ed Sylvanus Iskandar, who is pretty obviously obsessed with sexual deviance. One is tempted to ask which of NYC's 31 genders fits his self-image. It seems unlikely it will be #18. Iskander has a lab company, Exit Pursued by a Bear, that put on King Lear as "Mother Lear":
A re-examination of a timeless classic set in the 1980s drag ball culture of NYC, King Lear reimagines the titular King as the Ultimate Queen: the 40 year-old gay, black, HIV-positive Mother of the House of Lear who gives up her kingdom to her adopted daughters in preparation for her (sic) slow crawl to death. The inimitable Billy Porter stars as Mother Lear.
Is that Clinger from MASH on the right?
I thought I'd seen the worst rendition of Shakespeare's plays in the mid '90s when the Folger put on a production of The Tempest with Ariel as captain of the Love Boat lap dancing with Prospero and Trinculo and Caliban (played as a woman) simulating sex under Caliban's gaberdine during the storm. I can't describe the second act because we left at intermission. One can only tolerate so much stabbing and blood-letting of the bard.

But clearly I was wrong about that production being the worst. Iskander has taken the malicious maiming of Shakespeare to new heights (or should I say depths)?

Needless to say, I wouldn't take tickets for this travesty if they were giving them away, and I hope the cast performs before many empty seats! Shakespeare cast young men as women out of necessity. As a Catholic playwright, he had an agenda: i.e., encouraging the recusants. But to desecrate his work in this way is arrogant and dishonest. And the agenda is crystal clear -- men and women are interchangeable as are all the other "gender" indentifications, whether it's the 31 of NYC or the 58 gender options offered by Facebook.

Those who attend this production will certainly not see Shakespeare, rather they'll be treated in drag to the collapse of Western culture.

5 comments:

newguy40 said...

Stick with the written word. I have complete works incl plays and sonnets. I dig it out and re-read just the way I do with the Hobbit and LoTR.

Today's media is pushing their own agenda. What goes on in SF or DC has nothing to do with me or mine.

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

I read Shakespeare and have about 25 plays on CD, but it was meant to be acted and can be so beautifully done like Henry V with Derek Jacobi, although that used a little creative editing to make the relationship with Falstaff and co. understandable to those unfamiliar with the two parts of Henry IV. And actually, to see the battle scenes in a film was amazing since you can't show that on a stage.

Some plays are done so seldom the only way to enjoy them is by reading them. I did a paper on Troilus and Cressida in college. It's not commonly acted. But I'd jump at the chance to see a good production. I've seen some good productions of Midsummer Night's Dream. But I confess if I add up the good productions and the bad, the bad win. I've seen some bizarre productions of Macbeth, that's for sure. I saw the famous Shakespearean actor Maurice Evans in King Lear when I was a teenager and that really lit the torch for Shakespeare. Just throw the weirdos out of the theater.

Stabat Mater said...

Here is what was recently performed in New Orleans: http://neworleansshakespeare.org/shakespeare-and-the-alchemy-of-gender/

The same "actress" has performed Macbeth as an all female, multicultural production. This makes me want to pull my hair out! The gift of Shakespeare is that his work transcends time & culture. And the problem is that no one even tries to understand the time & culture in which he wrote. A missed opportunity to understand his genius and restore some dignity & beauty to our own day, or our individual lives, at the very least.

Reason 4,352,896 to homeschool... Shakespeare!

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

Couldn't agree more, Mater. I gave a presentation on Shakespeare to a group of homeschoolers last year and did one years ago at a homeschooling convention. There is so much about Shakespeare that kids can appreciate. I like to talk about The Tempest because it's like a fairy tale with a king, a prince, a princess a wizard, a fairy, and a monster. When I was homeschooling I had a drama club that did a 40-minute abridged version of The Tempest for the Folger's school program. One of my kids (dressed in a jester's costume as Trinculo) ended up on the cover of one of their brochures. Those five years homeschooling gave me some wonderful memories!

avila said...

Here's an interesting read: http://www.shakespeareunmasked.com/default.htm