In our present social and political climate, the gender divide seems to be more fraught than ever, and yet, at the same time, the entire concept of “gender identity” is itself being exploded; many welcome the change and the inevitable uncertainty, but many are terrified and feel quite lost amidst what can appear to be either a morass of volatility or, at the very least, a sea of ambiguity. And what does this all mean for those of us in the theatre arts? Should female playwrights only write plays about women? Should male directors only direct plays written by men? And what about the actors? Why are we still stuck binding our biological genders to the characters we play? Or should we be stuck? Is there a double-standard? Should women get to play Hamlet? But don’t you dare let a man play Ophelia? Should casting not even come into it, but should we, instead, leave the choice to the playwrights? Let them tell us what is the proper “gender” for a character? And where does that leave non-binary and trans artists? Do they have to be limited to the ridiculously few trans/non-binary characters/stories available to them? These questions and more will be explored in this class for students of all genders, whether cis, trans or gender non-conforming; through both monologues and scenes the focus will be on the practical understanding and then execution in performance of how gender informs character with emphasis on the greatest characters both of the theatre’s past and present.
Ann Noble is a Chicago Native with over twenty-five years of professional experience in the theatre as an actor, playwright, director and educator. In addition to teaching at Antaeus, she currently teaches at Berg Studios (Technique I & II) as well as at the Hyperion Arts Center/Studio A Dance (Scene Study). As a director, her recent credits include Smoke with LifeChild Productions and Moonshine Mamas with Two Heads Are Better Productions. With Antaeus, she recently directed two of the Classic Sunday Readings of Shaw’s St. Joan and Shakespeare’s Measure For Measure, which she is slated to co-direct in its full production this winter with Armin Shimerman. As an actor, her credits with Antaeus are Hedda Gabler, The Crucible, Macbeth, Peace In Our Time, The Liar and The Malcontent. Her other theatre acting credits include: BLISS, or Emily Post is Dead with Moving Arts; The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?, The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later, Search For Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe, and Stanley Ann: The Unlikely Story of Barack Obama’s Mother all with LA’s LGBT Center; Other Desert Cities with ICT of Long Beach; American Dead with Rogue Machine; Orange Flower Water with the Victory; Belfry with Malibu Playhouse; An Ideal Husband with Sierra Madre Playhouse; The Fall To Earth, Bedroom Farce and London’s Scars with the Odyssey; Betrayal with ETC of Santa Barbara; Sidhe, And Neither Have I Wings To Fly, The Friendly Hour, Big Death & Little Death, Shove and Bunbury all with the Road; and over six productions with South Coast Rep. She also teaches acting and writing to incarcerated/at risk youth at several schools/institutions around LA including Homeboy Industries, and also works as a theatre director/instructor for youth at LA’s LGBT Center and LA’s Museum of the Holocaust. She is the current Casting Associate for Antaeus, and, also, will be directing Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar for Warriors For Peace this fall.