Edmonton production of Henry V will feature woman lead for first time in Canada
Brynn Linsey taking the lead for Shakespeare classic at Holy Trinity church.
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It certainly wouldn’t fly in Shakespeare’s day.
An Alberta woman is putting a spin on the Shakespearean tradition of male actors playing women – by being the first female to portray Henry V in a Canadian theatre production.
Brynn Linsey will play the main character in a co-production by Edmonton’s Grindstone Theatre and London, UK-based Malachites.
“In any production, women often don’t get to play the really intelligent, provocative characters, because women historically speaking were often written as relatively docile creatures,” Linsey said.
“It’s very cool being able to play somebody that’s so intelligent and so on the ball.”
Women have taken the role in European productions of Henry V, and Linsey said she’s excited to expand that legacy.
Henry V, starting this week at Holy Trinity Anglican Church, 10037 84 Ave., is the globetrotting Malachites’ first Canadian production.
The company’s co-director Danielle Larose said they never set out to put a woman in the role, but their gender-blind casting policy is evident throughout the cast.
The modern casting approach is also a subversion on Shakespeare’s practice of having strictly male actors on stage, which saw young boys take on characters like Lady Macbeth and Cleopatra instead of adult women.
“Lots of our really militaristic characters throughout the play are played by women, and they do a fantastic job of embodying the spirit of the play and the spirit of the characters that they have been exploring,” Larose said.
“So it’s less important for those gender normative roles to be filled by gender normative actors, than for an actor to come on stage and really get the inner workings of the character.”
Henry V will play Tuesdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Jan. 15 at 2 p.m., through Jan. 28.
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Here's what else is happening in Edmonton this weekend
ONE-MAN STAR WARS
Charles Ross never lost his childhood obsession with Star Wars, and he’s channeled it into a one-man play that he’s performed more than 1,200 times in more than 180 cities worldwide. Ross will single-handedly play all the characters, sing the music, fly the ships, fight the battles and condense the plots of the original Star Wars trilogy in his comedic take on the classic film series.
When: Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Where: Festival Place, 100 Festival Way, Sherwood Park
Mile Zero Dance’s latest Dance Crush show will feature two indigenous artists, Lady Vanessa Cardona and Todd Houseman, exploring through music and mask the identities they feel colonized people unintentionally wear in their daily lives.
When: Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.
Where: Spazio Performativo, 10816 95 St.
HARDCORE FOR HUMANITY
Warm up with a charitable night of heavy music courtesy Clean Up Your Act Productions. Food For Life Edmonton will prepare healthy vegan meals for attendees, and all proceeds will help the organization do the same for Edmonton’s homeless. Bands on the bill include Contention, Birds Bear Arms and more. Donations of warm clothing and non-perishable food items will also be accepted.
When: Saturday, doors at 7 p.m.
Where: Sewing Machine Factory, 9562 82 Ave.
DEEP FREEZE BYZANTINE WINTER FESTIVAL
The free family event will unite cultures and communities to revel in the winter weather, under this year’s theme Village Upside Down. Take in live music, cuisine, dance, wagon rides, ice skating, storytelling, fireworks, an artisan market and gallery and more. Saturday will highlight francophone culture, with Sunday focusing on Ukrainian culture, while indigenous cultural performances and programming will span both days.
When: Saturday from noon to 10 p.m., Sunday from noon to 6 p.m.
Where: 118 Avenue, from 90 Street to 94 Street