I went to the Cabaret yesterday to see 39 Steps. It was great fun, but as the actors took their bows I was troubled by the gender ratio — 3 men, one woman. The roles in the play are more equitable, but one of the men played the “women of a certain age”. ( All of the actors play multiple roles except for the hero.) these women, played by a man, were played for laughs — ridicule really.
And it isn’t the first show this season to feature men playing female parts. As if the inequality of opportunities for women isn’t small enough because there is a gender bias in the crafting of the script — you’d think the world was 30 percent female instead of 56 percent, now we’re giving those parts to men….
A return to Shakespeare’s times where all the parts were played by men?
It is also troubling that older women are ridiculous in this scheme of things. I was once told that if my newsroom was a movie, I’d be played by Holly Hunt (ala Broadcast News). As I aged I used to joke that it was more likely to be Kathy Bates. Now I fear, it might be John Candy….