This weeks blog is from a new MTAS blogger Frida Lindberg (@suttonscotton) looking at the roles and perception of women in theatre.
I am a woman and I do theatre.
I’ve been doing musicals for about eight years now and I love it. As an alto and due to the lack of boys in my theatre group, I’ve played just as many male roles as I’ve played female, if not more. This has never been a problem for me, I’ve always loved playing guys because I’ve often found the male characters more fun than the female. A while ago I started wondering why. Why do I think the male roles are more fun to play than the female?
Maybe it’s because I’m a stereotypical girl and for me, playing a boy is a new exciting challenge, both acting and singing wise.
If you’ve ever done theatre in school, you’ve probably noticed that most of of the people in the show are usually girls. Still, there are more men than woman on broadway, both on and behind the stage. Why? Of course this depends on the show and it’s characters but as I mentioned, a majority of people on broadway today are men. As I said, I often find myself liking the male characters more than the female. Why? I started thinking about some popular female characters in musical theatre and how they’re portrayed. Almost all of them are very feminine and end up with a man. I can only think of four queer woman, Joanne and Maureen in RENT and Alison and Joan in Fun Home. Except for those four, a lot of the woman spend both acts longing for a man and in the end of act two they usually fall in love or die.
Sometimes it makes me mad that most leading ladies are so focused on love, but what’s wrong with that? When I think about it, nothing, really. As a feminist, I believe that woman, and everyone else for that matter, should be able to be who they are, everyone should be allowed to be different. Unfortunately, this thought is relatively new and it’s still rare to see woman who break stereotypes in musicals and plays. Maybe it’s because a lot of shows are based on movies or books who were written a while ago when woman’s rights and freedom wasn’t as important as they are today. Is equality the reason to why I find most female characters boring?
I study musical theatre in school and at the moment we are doing Les Miserables. Due to the lack of boys in my class, I have to play Marius. Don’t get me wrong, I love it! I find Maris really funny and a bit clueless and he is really fun but also challenging to play. Most girls I know want to play Eponine or Cosette while I myself would much rather play one of the barricade boys. It’s not that I don’t like the girls, I feel so much love for them, I just find Marius more interesting, which is weird since he barely has any depth as a character.
Maybe this isn’t such a big problem after all maybe I’m just making this up or maybe there’s something wrong with me. But I do believe that what we need in theatre is more diversity and representation. need to see all kinds of woman, both woman in our out of love. We need diversity to make theatre broader so that more people can relate to the characters, and so more people can be in shows. Not only do we need diversity for woman, but for everyone. We need characters we can look up to and relate too. We need women in theatre.
What do you think? Do you agree with our new writer?
Let us know in the comments below or @MTAS_Official & Frida is @suttonscotton