PSC presents Lisa Wolpe on Shakespeare and gender-bending

The LGTB activist and director will present her solo show plus a workshop and lecture

Prague Shakespeare Company is presenting artist and activist Lisa Wolpe in a several events during the next 10 days including performances of her one-woman show, a masterclass and a lecture at the American Center.

Her show Shakespeare and the Alchemy of Gender will be at divadlo Kolowrat on Nov. 19 and 21 at 7 pm as part of the PSC400 project celebrating the anniversary of Shakespeare's birth.

She will lead a workshop for theater professionals called Shakespeare Acting, Audition & Gender on Nov. 20 at 1 pm at Kolowrat. Finally, she will will give a lecture and have a Q&A at the American Center on Nov. 28 at 4 pm.

Wolpe is currently touring around the world with Shakespeare & the Alchemy of Gender. It has played in across the US and Canada, as well as in London and at Shakespeare’s birthplace in Stratford-Upon-Avon.

“Her greatest legacy will undoubtedly be her creative vision and determination to create a platform and a voice for women, minorities and now the growing trans community in theatre. Theatre inspires, it gives hope to a generation who will, sooner than they think, be given the keys to these theatres and told ‘now it’s your turn’. When this time comes these new guardians can look back at those pioneers like Wolpe who will make this future possible, a future that’s fair and doesn't see gender, colour, sexuality,” UK-based New Current said in its five-star review.

The show intercuts autobiography and observations on Shakespeare with long passages of dialogue from some of his characters, male and female, according to a New York Times review. “The alchemy of gender that the show’s title mentions is more evident in Ms. Wolpe’s stories — and in her remarks about male actors routinely playing female characters in Shakespeare’s time — than in her channeling the words of Richard III or Henry V,” the NYT review stated.

TheaterScene.net gave the show a positive review. “Wolpe quite adeptly offers rich characterizations of some of those most illustrious roles. In addition she seamlessly switches to delivering revelatory reminiscences and concise analysis of the plays with élan that recalls Spalding Gray’s monologues. The combination of these elements yields to a wonderful performance,” Darryl Reilly said for TheaterScene.net.

The website Americantheatre.org quotes Wolpe as saying that Shakespeare’s plays were created for gender-bending, the original company being all-male. But women have not always been allowed to play male roles. In Shakespeare’s time, the act of females performing or writing for the stage was illegal and punishable by death.

Wolpe is an internationally acclaimed LGTB activist, theater artist, actor, and director working for the empowerment of women and diversity on the stage. She addresses liberation from what she calls the “gender box” of expectations. Since 1993 she has been the founding producing artistic director of the all-female Los Angeles Women’s Shakespeare Company, where she produces, directs, and has performed roles including Hamlet, Richard III, Angelo, Leontes, Romeo, Shylock, and Iago.

She has directed and acted regionally at theaters including Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Colorado Shakespeare Festival, Berkeley Repertory Company, Arizona Theater Company and San Diego Repertory Theater. She has also taught and directed at universities including NYU, UCLA, USC, Whittier College, ACT San Francisco, Boston University, MIT and University of Colorado.

Prague Shakespeare Company thanks JUDr. Dominika Kolowrat-Krakowska, Maximilian Kolowrat-Krakowsky and Francesca Kolowrat-Krakowska for their selfless and generous support.

For more information, visit www.pragueshakespeare.com or Facebook Event page

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