Jumping into Women’s History Month with Shakespeare

Fatyma Cendejas, Staff Writer

This week, join CSU Bakersfield’s theatre department as they kick off Women’s History Month with a special performance of “Shakespeare Unmasked: Celebrating Shakespeare’s Women.”

Cast rehearsing for the play
Cast rehearsing for the play

“In creating this production, I wanted to celebrate Shakespeare’s brilliant and strong women. I wanted to introduce our CSUB community to Shakespeare and these amazing women, and I wanted to showcase our talented students and instill in them a passion for the bard that will last a lifetime,” said Mendy McMasters, the director of CSUB’s Shakespeare Unmasked theatre performance.
As we know, Women’s History Month takes place in March. McMasters stated,
“The first weekend of Women’s History Month, we want to make sure everyone comes out for that.”
I can’t think of a better way to start celebrating different women that Shakespeare writes about than this play. We will get to know Shakespeare’s view on women, and what he said about them.
Mendy described the play as “An evening of scenes and monologues celebrating Shakespeare’s brilliant, courageous, witty, and dynamic women.”
Mendy’s goal is “to introduce Shakespeare to you, and make it accessible, make it something that is fun and we can celebrate these amazing women.”
She shared that Shakespeare created 38 plays, all of which featured beautiful women. When I asked what her favorite part of the play was, she mentioned ALL parts are her favorite. She said,
“Since I put this together, it’s true, I created it, I got some of my absolute favorite plays and collected them all and wrote introductions in hopes that everyone loves them as much as I do.”
The theatre season this year will be face to face.
“After this, we have Theatre of New Voices, which is student-directed and student acted,” said McMasters.
Students last year submitted their plays, which went under critical review to pick the best ones. She also shares that they have many exciting events going on and encourages many to double Major in Theatre.

Play: “Shakespeare Unmasked: Celebrating Shakespeare’s Women”
Directed by: Mendy McMasters
Location: Doré Theatre
Date: March 3 – March 6
Times: March 3-5: 7:30 p.m. and March 6: 2 p.m.
Price: $5 students
$10 seniors 60+, CSUB faculty and staff
$12 general admission

Link to purchase tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/shakespeare-unmasked-celebrating-shakespeares-women-tickets-272190949457
*Masks are required while inside the theatre.
*Seating is limited
*Tickets will be available to purchase the same day
*Free parking in lots B and C

There will be 15 different scenes and monologues from Shakespeare’s plays, which include:

1. Katherine – The Taming of the Shrew
2. Princess/Ferdinand – Love’s Labour’s Lost
3. Adrianna – The Comedy of Errors
4. Hermia/Helena/Theseus/Lysander – A Midsummer Night’s Dream
5. Hermione/Leontes – The Winter’s Tale
6. Portia/Antonio/Shylock – Merchant
7. Viola/Olivia – Twelfth Night
8. Juliet/Romeo – Romeo and Juliet
9. Beatrice/Benedick – Much Ado about Nothing
10. Isabella/Claudio – Measure for Measure
11. Desdemona/Emilia – Othello
12. Lady Macbeth/Macbeth – Macbeth
13. Portia/Calpurnia – Julius Caesar
14. Joan of Arc/Charles – Henry VI part 1
15. Rosalind – As You Like I

Here is the list for the cast and the characters they will be playing:

Charlotte Smith – Katherine/Portia (Mer)/LadyMacbeth
Kamala Bock – Princess/Beatrice/Joan of Arc
Vanessa Beltran – Emilia/Adrianna/Calpurnia
Divyang Motavar – Macbeth/Shylock/Benedict/Ferdinand
Gisela Zelaya – Juliet/Desdemona/Helena
Jan Mateo Tugab – Charles/Leontes/Theseus
Maya Blackstone – Isabella/Voila/Hermione
Molly Jiron – Olivia/Portia (JC)/Hermia
Oliver Love – Romeo/Antonio/Claudio/Lysander

The production team includes:

Mendy McMasters – Director
Chom Wisuthimarkul – Stage Manager
Chris Eicher – Designer
Roger Upton – Costumes
Frank Robinson – Sound Engineer
Cody Stevens – Technician
Cristina Goyeneche – Fight Captain

Information and rehearsal photo provided by Mendy McMaster