Shakespeare (She/Her)

Those who know of William Shakespeare will probably recognise several of his intricate plots. But do we really know a lot about the female characters that are a huge part of what makes Shakespeare special? These women portrayed in this insightful piece of theatre, captured on camera, portray what makes them come to life, using modern settings alongside the original text.

insightful piece of theatre captured on camera

First up was Mistress Quickly, who appears in several of Shakespeare's works, played with style and fiesty passion by Delena Gabbidon. She relished the opportunity to play a scheming woman, carrying out her plan to catch the man in action out with his womanising and more. The energy she used to portray the saucy Quickly was full of confidence and wit, with her clear essence of being comfortable in her own skin as she drew us in.

Jo Lainchbury changed the pace with her own interpretation of Sonnet 15. Using footage of her and her daughter enjoying simple pleasures like playing on the swings and creating memorable moments together, really highlighted the words that enabled them to leap off the page. This was a period of stillness that reminded us that just a simple connection through laughter and joy was perfect in her eyes.

It followed with As You Like It's Rosalind (Rachel Wilmshurst) as she tried to keep her disguise strong whilst playing with Orlando's mindset. It seemed a little strange to use bandages on her face at first, but as the piece went on, it became clear it accompanied a strong performance as she was allowed herself to play with being someone else for a moment, before revealing who she was underneath.

Steph Ammerlaan's Helena (inspired by the character from A Midsummer Night's Dream) found out her husband didn't love her through social media. Her heartbreak was well controlled, eventually finding an inner strength for what she must do next to help her through this. Introducing social media into this scene really added to the abruptness of the reality in front of her, due to the disconnected approach text can have, rather than face to face.

Ophelia's mad speech was portrayed well by Gabbie Love with her beautiful singing voice and matter of fact approach to show her mental state. Despite feeling at times that the musical choices were too jolly, the symbolic use of the water added to the danger of the scene and worked well as a prediction of what would be to come.

Charlotte Clarke played a moving Cordelia as she looked after her ill father, King Lear. Her simplistic approach to calling out for help to protect him, combined with her own emotional journey was so powerful that you couldn't help but also want him to live.

Shana Gabbidon's Julia (The Two Gentlemen of Verona) had a well executed speech, as she examined her relationship to Proteus. However, it seemed like she wasn't fully connected with her character's emotional arc for it to work at times. She perhaps needed more confidence in her ability as an actress, which will come over time.

And finally, Claire Dovey-Wilson's portrayal of Phoebe was not as a shepherdess as she was in As You Like It, but instead a glamorous woman who was dismissing the fact she loved 'Rosalind' in male form. She gradually revealed her love with such calm precision, albeit with a vulnerable edge, that it made a favourable finish to this showcase.

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Reviews by Sascha Cooper

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The Blurb

Shakespeare's 21st-century females. A glimpse of our forthcoming digital project, directed by Wayne T Brown for Three Chairs and a Hat and featuring Shakespearean monologues and sonnets voiced by women in contemporary contexts.

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