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Do you qualify for a Doctoral Degree in Sacred Music? YOUR Name YOUR Wall The war was over, a beautiful young woman was on the throne and much was said about a second Elizabethan age. But Leighton's Rosalind looked forward rather than back.
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Penny Gay, describing the production, observes that 'it's the foreignness, the un-Englishness of this new image of women that is such a threat to conservative critics: the transatlantic girl bicyclist or androgynous French gamine look, lacking feminine curves; intellectual, even' The Rosalind of Vanessa Redgrave in Elliott, RSC was perhaps heir to her father's narrative of falling in love with the boy that Shakespeare has written into his heroine's part.
Her boyish Rosalind was a triumph at the beginning of the swinging sixties. But a new kind of liberation is created by disregarding the traditional beauty of the pantomime-boy Rosalind, achieved by Juliet Stevenson Noble, RSC, in a Chaplinesque costume which allowed her to elude conventional expectations of beautiful boys as well as of beautiful girls.
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- As You Like It.
Clifford Williams's all-male production for the early National Theatre at the Old Vic in , just one year before the legalization of homosexuality between consenting adults, apparently eschewed any engagement with the homoerotic issues which have subsequently become part of the critical literature of 1 2 Gay analyses, with review excerpts, productions of the play in , , and Hemming, 'Like a man'; but cf. Callaghan 'Buzz Goodbody', , on the audacity of 'Eileen Atkins' blue jeans unisex disguise.
Nevertheless, its timing is bound with hindsight to seem indicative of the more open climate of the late s. Declan Donnellan's Cheek by Jowl production in enters, a quarter of a century later, a more complex scene, with gay scholarship forming an important part of academic Shakespeare, and the more open attitude to homosexuality in society creating new possibilities for theatre performance.
The production was packaged as witty and joyous rather than controversial, with a flamboyantly drag Audrey. In the Forest of Arden Adrian Lester's Rosalind trying to be macho was funny in a way that it never is with a woman playing the part. Lester recalls: 'People said I looked most like a woman when I was playing Rosalind trying to look like a man. When I stopped trying to look like a woman, I looked most like one' see Fig.
James Bulman suggests that the Cheek by Jowl production focused debates which animated the last quarter of the twentieth century, and that the response of many critics seemed to deny political issues at the heart of the production: 'It is time to bring Cheek by Jowl's As You Like It out of the closet' 'Gay Theater', The scenes between Rosalind and Celia Tom Hollander raised many questions about the balance between the homosexual and the heterosexual in the relationship between the two girls. Bulman concludes that Donnellan decided 'to use the gender elisions of As You Like It to foreground a contemporary political agenda' 38 , and adds a telling explication: 'In To imagine anything else is to fly in the face of the status of theatre in Shakespeare's period.
Why were the anti-theatricalists frightened of theatre? Not just because it was more fun to go to a theatre than to go to a sermon. Why were playwrights put in prison? Satire was a key genre in the s, as John Marston's Scourge of Villainy , Lodge's Fig for Momus , Joseph Hall's Virgidemiarum , , the Satires of John Donne written in the s , and many other writings demonstrate. Grace Tiffany has argued that the figure of Jaques is implicated in the fracas between Jonson and his fellow playwrights first mentioned in The Return from Parnassus, Part 2y and now called the 'War of the Theatres' see Appendix 3.
All the references to satire in As You Like It press against social and political boundaries2 just as much as its gender games enter a potentially disruptive liminal territory. The updating in the modern theatre of the play's political and social contexts testifies to the natural capacity for rebirth inherent in any great work of art. The 1 2 See Kerrigan: 'There is no doubt that, as Richard Wilson among others has shown with As You Like It, mature Shakespearean comedy goes much further in internalizing and articulating political conflict than traditional criticism realised' In an all-male production of the play was staged by the Haiyuza Company in Tokyo in which the director, Toshikiyo Masumi, sanctioned the insertion of topical jokes by the actors.
Though they were not especially successful, and Rosalind's were considered in bad taste Shibata, , the spirit of the change speaks to a topical vitality which the play would have had in Donnellan compared his enterprise in staging an all-male As You Like It to Japanese Kabuki theatre, in which the actors become women, but are also supremely the creation of make-believe. Bulman cites Dominic Cavendish's remark that 'however good the performances, you never forget you are watching men'.
For audience members familiar with the play, the ghosts of past Rosalinds are never completely exorcised from the stage.
Adrian Lester's Rosalind is not free of Ashcroft's, or Edith Evans's, or Redgrave's, or of any other Rosalind whom audiences have identified with the part. But fresh eyes see, like Miranda, a brave new world. Hamilton put back into the part of Rosalind the range of feeling which Helena Faucit had claimed for it in the s, when the tradition of tomboys and hoydens - of whom eighteenth-century actress Dorothy Jordan was the most admired - gave way to a more emotional and imaginative reading of the character.
Hamilton also spoke Ganymede's lines as though she were improvising them, which gave a sudden freshness to the game of courtship. Reviewers' comments on Gilbreath's adventurous Rosalind were more reserved, but John Peter nailed an important element in her performance when he remarked that it was as if 'she had been brought to the edge of the 1 Hemming, 'Like a man'. See also Kawachi, —18; Kott, Dangerous love because Shakespeare's Rosalind is both boy and girl, and must realize Ganymede's brashness not simply as a female pretence of maleness.
This is not what Rosalind does.
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She becomes a boy playing a woman's role: Ganymede playing Rosalind for Orlando to woo. I will be more jealous of thee than a Barbary cock-pigeon over his hen, more clamorous than a parrot against rain, more new-fangled than an ape, more giddy in my desires than a monkey. I will weep for nothing, like Diana in the fountain, and I will do that when you are disposed to be merry. I will laugh like a hyena, and that when thou art inclined to sleep. Orlando is dubious.
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He is deterred by Ganymede's Rosalind. But our Rosalind lends her own authority: how could Ganymede imagine anything but the real thing, because under the disguise she who speaks is Rosalind. It takes some skill for the actress to communicate to the audience that the 'real' Rosalind is not actually Ganymede's Rosalind, while claiming to her lover that of course they are the same thing, as physically - beneath the disguise - they are.
But the tenderness and relenting of the female Rosalind in love with Orlando were nowhere to be seen.
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When Orlando declared 'I would not have my right Rosalind of this mind, for I protest her frown might kill me', Rosalind's melting response, 'By this hand, it will not kill a fly' 4. Reviewers called Sosanya a tomboy, the Victorian equivalent of the 'mannish woman' of the Elizabethans. But Sosanya was not a tomboy. She was just too good at acting a boy to be able simultaneously to act a woman, which the actress playing Rosalind still must do even if she is a woman.
In As You Like It both genders must be acted. That is the comedy's extraordinary challenge, which is played out in Rosalind's epilogue where the boy who has played Rosalind perhaps hardly wants to go back to being a lady. She wants to have the last word as a boy.
Or does she? The actors wore modern dress. The singer Franziska Gottwald, who played Rosalind disguised as the shepherd boy, Ganymede Clelia in Veracini's opera , was so convincing that many of the audience believed she was a man until she began to sing. Not only had the actress mastered a masculine way of moving, she had also completely assimilated a set of masculine facial expressions and attitudes.
Her entire body language belied femininity. Yet her femininity was convincing. The actress seemed to detach herself from the role she played. As Paglia observes: '[Rosalind] theatricalizes her inner life' As You Like It conjures into its orbit multiple sexualities; the homoerotic, whether in the courtship of Orlando and Rosalind or in Phoebe's passion for the scornful Ganymede see Fig. If the play finally celebrates and affirms heterosexuality, in the process it traverses the gamut of emotions and impulses.
The complex performance of gender which the play requires may, as modern productions have shown, ultimately confound distinction between male and female, homoerotic and heterosexual, boy and girl, as Rosalind does in her epilogue. Celia It used to be thought that Celia, who shows spirit and initiative in the first act of the play, is overshadowed by Rosalind once they move into the Forest.
Certainly Celia in Act 1 exhorts her melancholy cousin to merriment, stands up to her tyrannous father, and initiates the plan to flee to the Forest of Arden. Only with Rosalind's invention of the disguise of Ganymede does the audience glimpse the enabling verve accessed by Rosalind as she dons her male costume.
Celia, on the other hand, arrives in the Forest exhausted. But her low spirits don't last long, and the plan to buy the shepherd's cottage is hers, not Rosalind's. Furthermore, 26 Introduction Rosalind Peggy Ashcroft and Phoebe Miriam Adams in Harcourt Williams's production at the Old Vic, London, 27 Introduction although the courtship between Orlando and Rosalind moves centre stage, Celia's role remains a vital one in reminding both the heroine and the audience of the girl Rosalind beneath the disguise of the boy Ganymede - a reminder even more important in Shakespeare's theatre when the girl dressed as a boy was really a boy: 'You have simply misused our sex in your love-prate!
We must have your doublet and hose plucked over your head and show the world what the bird hath done to her own nest' 4. It is easy to suggest that all the bawdy jokes belong to Rosalind, but these lines of Celia's were still cut in when Margaret Leighton played Rosalind. Don't they force an audience to imagine genitals? And which sex of genitals are we - or certainly an Elizabethan audience - imagining?