Two Gents

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Gender in Shakespeare

March 22, 2014

Details & Registration


"Shakespeare, Cross-Gender" is a creative forum for actors to begin to improvise and discover some of the physical and emotional experiences involved in performing cross-gender Shakespeare. The workshop is led by Lisa Wolpe, Producing Artistic Director of the Los Angeles Women's Shakespeare Company, who has played a wide array of cross-gender roles including Hamlet, Iago, Richard III, Romeo, Shylock and many more.

Please choose a Shakespearean character to explore that is not of your gender. Memorize a little bit of a monologue (10-20 lines) – either poetry or prose. You will be guided in a group improv where you can experience walking in the shoes of that character. Please wear layers; be prepared to move; and bring writing materials. Men, women, LGBT welcome.

"She Is Fierce": Finding the vibrancy and power in Shakespeare's young women, led by Joanne Zipay.

When auditioning for the ingénue roles in classical theatre, how do you stand out from the crowd? How do you use the strengths of your own personality to make your presence unique and unforgettable? Shakespeare's young women are strong and earthy. They fight hard for what they want. They defy what others want them to be (compliant, modest, unambitious, passive). They are Shakespeare's heroines because they blaze their own paths. They're vulnerable, confused, passionate, and impulsive. But above all, they're bold, unconventional, risk-taking women with both feet on the ground.

In this workshop we'll explore the physical, vocal, and emotional aspects of acting the ingénue – and integrate these aspects through choices that come directly from the text – choices that are positive, active, and solidly playable. This work has the potential to influence your acting in any roles you pursue – and to strengthen your overall presence on the stage.

Please dress for movement and prepare one 2-minute monologue by a young woman from any Shakespeare play (Juliet, Imogen, Miranda, Rosalind, Ophelia, Desdemona, Helena, Julia, Viola, etc.). Bring a copy of Shakespeare's complete works if you have one. Anyone can take this workshop. You don't have to be a "typical ingénue." You don't even have to be young or a woman. All that is needed is a willingness to explore, have fun, and grow in the work.

"Swordwork and Combat" led by Gael Schaefer

Ready to tackle Hamlet, Joan La Pucelle, or Tybalt, but it's been a while (or never) since you worked on your stage combat technique? End your day by blowing off steam with a swordplay workshop. Perfect for beginners or those who haven't fenced in a while. Weapons provided. Bring a leather glove if you have one, and wear clothing you can move in.



Lisa Wolpe is an actress, director, teacher, playwright and producer, and Artistic Director of the Los Angeles Women's Shakespeare Company, which she founded in 1993. LAWSC was named by LA Magazine as "one of the ten coolest things to do in Los Angeles", and was featured on PBS, CNN, ABC, NBC, and CBS News. She's directed dozens of productions of Shakespeare and played many male roles, including RIII, Shylock, Romeo, Leontes, and this year's Hamlet for LAWSC (nominated for "Best Leading Actress"). She has directed all kinds of contemporary and classical plays for many theater companies and universities including Shakespeare & Company, the California Shakespeare Festival, and American Conservatory Theater. She has been an invited guest speaker at more than thirty universities across the country, lecturing on Shakespeare, Elizabethan cosmology, and cross-gender performance. Other credits: Oregon Shakespeare, Berkeley Rep, Shakespeare & Co., Arizona Theater Co., San Diego Rep, California Shakespeare Festival. She is currently at work on her solo show, Shakespeare and the Alchemy of Gender, which has been invited to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the Prague Shakespeare Festival, and various Los Angeles university bookings. http://www.lawsc.net

As Founder and Artistic Director of NYC's award-winning Judith Shakespeare Company (dedicated to expanding the presence of women in classical theatre) Joanne Zipay has served as Director/Dramaturg for over half of Shakespeare's canon including: the entire 10-play History Cycle; Macbeth, winner of a 1996 OOBR Award; and the acclaimed reverse-gender Julius Caesar, featured on national television's Lifetime Live. She directed the 2008 Off-Broadway premiere of Timothy Findley's Elizabeth Rex for Nicu's Spoon Theatre; and the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas provided a special grant for her work as Master of Verse with the Richmond VA Shakespeare Festival in 2007. She has taught, directed, and performed in the theatre for over 35 years for a wide variety of programs and theatres including: Dallas Theatre Center, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Princeton NJ Repertory Shakespeare Festival, Theatre for a New Audience NYC, and both the NY and Edinburgh International Fringe Festivals. She holds an MFA from the classical acting training program at the Old Globe Theatre/University of San Diego; and has been a professor at Pace University NYC, Collin College TX, City College of NY (CUNY), and Stella Adler Conservatory of Acting/NYU. She was a speaker at the 2002 International Dramaturgy Symposium at Mt. Holyoke College MA; writes and directs award-winning Living History for Mount Gulian Historic Site in Beacon NY; and is a private acting coach in NYC.


Gael Schaefer is an actress, fight choreographer, producer, and writer. She holds a BFA from Carnegie Mellon University, with additional work in Shakespeare, fencing, unarmed stage combat, singing, Alexander Technique and acting at HB Studio. In addition to private coaching in stage combat and fencing, she has taught Fencing I and II and Contemporary Stage Violence I and II at HB Studio, and Fencing and Stage Combat at Working Actor Studio. Selected acting credits: Counsellor-at-Law with John Rubinstein (Lortel Award, Outstanding Revival), Emma (NY Musical Theatre Festival), I Come For Love (NYMF), The Man Who Came To Dinner (tour with Tony Randall). Fight choreography: Another Life off-Broadway starring George Bartenieff, Untying Love off-Broadway, Ripped! (feature film).


This Workshop is a SWAN Day Event



Date: Saturday March 22, 2014

Time: 10:00AM to 6:30PM

Place: Nola Studios, 250 W. 54 Street, 10th floor, NYC 10019

Cost: Full Day Workshop: $125
Early Bird Discount*: $100
(*Payment received by 3/1)

Classes may also be taken individually:

Shakespeare, Cross-Gender
10:00AM - 1:00PM, $75

She Is Fierce
2:00PM - 5:00PM, $75

Swordwork and Combat
5:10PM - 6:30PM, $30

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Workshop & Class Selection