I laughed years ago at TOOTSIE where the conceit was that a man who wore a dress understood what really made a woman. I am reading reviews of the British imports on Broadway of 12TH NIGHT and RICHARD III, where the men take over just as they did in Shakespeare’s day and leave the women actresses standing on the unemployment line.
The reviews are glowing!! I can bring myself to go to one of the pieces where the women are minor in the story. I have my problems with 12TH NIGHT where two women must fight conventions to find their hearts desire — one by dressing as a boy and the other by hiding behind her home walls. I always wanted to play one of these women. Alas, the years to do that have rolled by.
A few years ago I went to an all-female reading of 12TH NIGHT. I found it as unsatisfying as I would with an all-male company. I’ve played a man in one or two small pieces. I lowered my voice and adjusted my body language. I thought about cross-wiring as hard to
achieve. It is not the same as cross-gartering.
As a female I know some of my approaches are different based very much on biology — monthly cycles, childbirth, sexual orgasms, and
menopause. It isn’t just the dress or the dressing.
When I was in college years ago one professor reminded my class that sexual identity was not that simple. It is also not that complicated. Dresses help. But they don’t define.