The Reversed Shakespeare Company have decided to tackle 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' and they have switched the all of the roles around men playing women, women playing men etc and it brings interesting results.
For me the most interesting part of the gender reversal lies in Titania and Oberon and how drastically different these roles seem to become. Titania as a man seems for some reason much more aggressive and more in the wrong for some reason !? No doubt we are all wired to a patriarchy and this informs any opinion we may have about this, but I usually find Oberon irrationally and yet when the gender is swapped I then found Titania the irrational one. I still haven't exactly figure out why?
The gender switch to the four lovers now means that we have a rather different dynamic between the bond between the two boys Hermia and Helena, and ones feels Helena perhaps had a schoolboy crush on Hermia. Great also to see the Ladies taking the front foot in all the arguments and fighting and being the dominant force in their relationship's. This is probably more representative of the reality today
These characters mentioned above are more in focus as I guess they involve a relationship with the opposite sex. The mechanicals are still interesting but the gender swapping seems to bring to light some perhaps more interesting nuances in the Lovers and Oberon and Titania. Puck is similar as, to me, Puck is an androgynous role anyway and transcends gender.
It was an interesting choice to gender swap the Pyramus and Thisbe play as well, especially when all the other classical references are kept as the usual gender. It would have been nice to see Flute (as a woman) being really annoyed having to play a woman, but it is still interesting that this Flute doesn't want to play a man! Putting paid to the assumption that the male parts are always the more interesting parts. I'd certainly be intrigued to see what Reversed choose to do next.