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maryann johanson | #BlackLivesMatter

question of the day: What actresses should play Shakespeare’s great male characters?

Woo-hoo! Helen Mirren is going to play Prospero — the wizard has been redubbed Prospera — for a new film adaptation of The Tempest from director Julie Taymor, according to BBC News:

“I’d been to see a stage version of the play and I remember thinking that, with a little alteration of the back story, it would be easy to make Prospero into a woman,” Dame Helen says at the movie’s world premiere at the Venice Film Festival.

“All you would have to do to change ‘his’ into ‘her’ and you could perform it as it is.”

Some fans of the bard may be appalled with the thought of tampering with one of his greatest characters – but the Oscar-winning actress is adamant the crossover is a smooth one.

“Actually I felt making Prospero into a woman was very valuable to the play,” she says.

“All the relationships shift because she is female. There’s the maternal relationship with her daughter – rather than a patriarchal one. She is a lot more vulnerable herself because she understands Miranda’s emotional life and need for romance.

“I am actually convinced that were he [Shakespeare] writing in the modern day, he would have made Prospero into a woman.”

I think it’s a brilliant idea, whatever Shakespeare himself may have thought. My pal Bonnie — who posts comments here as bronxbee — and I have long discussed an entirely gender-switched Hamlet — wherein all the men’s parts are played by women, and vice versa — and we recently came to the conclusion that Tilda Swinton would be awesome as the Danish Prince(ss).

What actresses should play Shakespeare’s great male characters?

Judi Dench as Queen Lear? Joan Allen as Macbeth? Meryl Streep as Shylock?

Have fun!

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTD sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)

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