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Gender-swapped Earnest?

  • 1.  Gender-swapped Earnest?

    Posted 21 days ago
    Has anyone ever gender-swapped The Importance of Being Earnest?  Wondering what you did, how you did it, etc.

    Jessica Shaw
    Speech and Drama Teacher
    Alexandria VA

  • 2.  RE: Gender-swapped Earnest?

    Posted 20 days ago
    Edited by Guy Barbato 20 days ago
    We did Earnest last year with a female Algernon.  It was a lot of fun.  The hardest part was eliminating a lot of the pronouns and gender specific wording in certain scenes.  The show is obviously in the public domain, but I tried to stay as true to the original as possible and we were able to do it with minimal alterations.  The scene with Gwendolyn and Cecily is the most crucial and took the most time.  Cecily was now in love with a woman and Gwendolyn is in love with a man, but they still have to think they are talking about the same person right up until they walk in.
      I didn't go into auditions with the intent of swapping the character, but the student we ended up casting as Algy was just so perfect for the role that we decided to make it work.  I'm glad we did, but I wouldn't do it just for the sake of swapping the character's gender.  I still have an edited version of the script with our changes I can send if you would like.


    Guy Barbato
    Theatre Teacher/Director
    Leonardtown, MD

  • 3.  RE: Gender-swapped Earnest?

    Posted 20 days ago
    There is beginning to be a bit of a tradition that allows men to play Lady Bracknell, as was done in the play's most recent Broadway production.  I would love to play the part myself.  But in order to work, it would probably have to be done like Edna in Hairspray - not an obvious joke metaphorically elbowing the audience in its collective ribs (ha-ha, it's really a guy in drag), but truly played as a woman.

    Jeff Grove
    Theatre Teacher, Aesthetics Department Chair
    Stanton College Preparatory School
    Jacksonville FL