All-female “Henry V” updates classic, provokes debate

Reviewed by Kellie Powell

The Binghamton University Theatre Department recently presented an all-female version of Shakespeare’s “Henry V,” directed by visiting assistant professor Michael F. Toomey. Countless directors have attempted to “shake up Shakespeare” by changing time periods and locations, using color-blind casting and experimenting with gender roles, usually with mixed results — and this production is no exception. “Henry V,” which is probably most famous for King Henry’s “band of brothers” speech, is a fairly macho play. To their credit, rather than impersonating men, members of BU’s all-female cast played characters — kings, soldiers, drunks and thieves — who happened to be men. In doing so, they were able to portray both the vulnerability that modern men are rarely allowed to display publicly and the bloodthirsty ambition that even modern women are discouraged from expressing. Read the rest of this entry »
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