Gender Bender


Carlos Gutierrez, Linden Dodson and Sam Mostellar play the witches in the theater department's production of "Macbeth," which reversed the gender roles to show women in positions of power. Photo by Daphne Lynd

Noelle Yancy

While swords clashed, actor Kira McKnight chokes a male actor in the theater department’s production of “Macbeth,” which reversed the gender roles to show women in positions of power.

Theatre Director Cliff McClelland spun the Shakespearean play so character’s roles were rewritten for the opposite sex. The women having dominant roles was meant to emphasize the feminist and #MeToo movements.

“The Theatre Department wanted to put women in power, so we imagined a society where the women were the hunters, the gatherers, the warriors, and the men were the stay at home husbands,” McClelland said.

McKnight played a soldier named Angus, which she said presented some unexpected challenges.

“I felt like I had to act more stiff and in control, instead of sassy,” she said. “It made me feel more empowered because the women in the show had more power over the boys – we played queens and soldiers, while the boys played house people.”

Along with women empowerment, McClelland wanted to challenge the students by using a difficult Shakespearean script written in Old English, taking the actors out of their comfort zones.

“They’re getting this 400-year-old text from somebody who is considered to be the greatest dramatists of all time,” McClelland said.

A major goal of the production was to push students towards new experiences that wold educate them beyond the stage.

“I think the success not only lies with what you do in front of the audience, but in educational theater, it’s what you learn,” McClelland said.