I am writing this post to talk about my views on the current state of theater in our pop culture, specifically the importance of queering the classics, thereby beaming the binaries they foment and expanding representation onstage. Right now at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) a queered production of the acclaimed musical Oklahoma! is being performed in which the two main couples are same sex. I think this is a perfect and prototypical example of what the future of the classics/musical theater should/will look like, queered casting. I think it’s really important to be conscience of what/who’s story we’re telling as a society. I mean come on, boys/men played ALL of Shakespeare’s women. Why can’t women do it for the men? And why can’t the men continue to play those female roles? How is Guys and Dolls different with same sex couples? Or opposite gender casting? Does Othello change if it’s characters are queered? What if Dolly Levi was transgender? What about Macbeth? The Trojan Women? Cat on a Hot Tin Roof? Sweeney Todd? Does it even matter? This kind of casting expands and degrades the harsh gendered binaries often perpetuated by the classics and the discriminatory nature of the canonical edifice in pop culture (disregarding minority voices). If gender is performative anyways- why not shake it up a little bit? I/we have a really exciting future ahead of us with theater. Get ready for it.
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