Shakespear Actor

A play for 6 women from different cultures who are themselves actresses.

Esther from New York  (mid 40’s)
Bintou from Abidjan   (early 40’s)
Kim Soo Jung from Seoul   (late 30’s)
Fathia from Algiers  (early 30’s)
Marie-France from Paris  (late 50’s)
Cristina from Rio de Janeiro (early 20’s)

At the beginning of the play, they are performing a glitzy musical revue full of songs, sketches and bad jokes. Each of the women, after being presented, comes to the microphone to tell a joke about men – jokes in very dubious taste.  Cristina, when it comes to her turn, is so revolted by the whole production that her conscience prevents her from continuing and she violently calls a halt to the proceedings. 

The actresses are now faced with the ultimate nightmare of all performers – being on stage in front of an audience, with no show.  

Each of them reacts in a different way.  Some want to just leave but Esther suddenly suggests that, as this is supposed to be a show about Men and each of them has experiences of men as well as being professional performers, they could improvise a show for the audience in front of them.  Cristina is immediately captivated by the idea and enlists the approval of the audience to help persuade the others. 

Hesitatingly at first, they start to recount different experiences from their relationships with men that have touched their lives.  Starting with fathers, moving through brothers, husbands, lovers etc. etc.  Some of the stories are amusing, some touching, some painful, some pathetic – a normal cross section of life. 

The different improvisation techniques employed include story telling and principally a technique developed by Jacques Lecoq called “conteur-mimeur”  This technique entails one actress acting as  narrator and calling on other members of the team to enact roles under her direction.  As the play develops, the 6 actresses become at ease with this technique and start to spontaneously participate.  Sometimes these participations do not follow the expected pattern.  Someone from The Ivory Coast, for example, trying to imagine life in a traditional Korean household is going to make mistakes. 

As the improvisations progress, we start to see unexpected similarities between the six cultures as well as some irreconcilable differences. 

The relationships between the women themselves also start to develop, and the differences between the way men are viewed by different generations and cultures become influential on these relationships, sometimes provoking deep conflict. 

By the end of the play, the women agree to disagree on some points, are completely in agreement on others, and some points remain unresolved.


Top of page