Isis Phoenix as Hippolyta and Jeremy Thompson as John Heminges/Theseus rehearse for “Shakespeare’s Other Women.” The play runs Thursday-Sunday, February 8-24, at Whidbey Island Center for theArts’ Zech Hall in Langley. (Photo provided)

Isis Phoenix as Hippolyta and Jeremy Thompson as John Heminges/Theseus rehearse for “Shakespeare’s Other Women.” The play runs Thursday-Sunday, February 8-24, at Whidbey Island Center for theArts’ Zech Hall in Langley. (Photo provided)

Shakespeare’s sonnets find a new voice

Play at WICA reveals ‘the repression of female voices throughout history

The voices of women that never spilled from The Bard’s pen will once again be heard during the second season of “Shakespeare’s Other Women” Feb. 8-24 at Whidbey Island Center for the Arts.

“We were astounded by the reception it had last year, with so many women and men thanking us for bringing these stories to light,” said Olena Hodges, artistic director of the Island Shakespeare Festival. “We’re looking forward to sharing this with even more of our community and hearing those conversations take place around the female experience.”

Written by Scott Kaiser of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, the production is a series of imagined speeches written for women in the style and time of Shakespeare.

Had Shakespeare actually written more interesting role for females, perhaps they’d sound like some of the 36 new monologues, written in iambic pentameter, that are supposedly uncovered by two men compiling the famous playwright’s work.

While this event actually did occur in 1623, called Shakespeare’s First Folio of collected works, a feminist rewrite it did not reveal.

Kaiser said he came up with the idea when a student who was auditioning for theatre schools needed “a speech they’d never heard before.”

Hodges views “Shakespeare’s Other Women” as an exploration of the female experience that exists beneath the surface of Shakespeare’s work.

“It’s acknowledging the repression of female voices throughout history,” she said.

Seattle-based director Erin Murray is returning as producer. There are 11 actors in the cast, nine women each perform four monologues and two men weave them together.

The show sold out last year so more performances have been added. Island Shakespeare Festival has decided to continue with the winter production to augment its summer season of three rotating plays.

“We wanted to give this show a fuller run, over three weekends with 12 performances,” Hodges said. “It’s such a timely piece, sharing the female perspective of these fantastic classical characters, and as prescient as it was a year ago, it’s somehow even more important now.”

“Shakespeare’s Other Women” runs Thursday, Feb. 8 through Sunday, Feb. 24, at Whidbey Island Center for the Arts’ Zech Hall in Langley. Thursdays are Pay-What-You-Will at the door; tickets to Friday-Sunday performances are available at wicaonline.org

Katie Medford as Beatrice and Jeremy Thompson as John Heminges/Benedick in rehearsal for “Shakespeare’s Other Women” presented by Island Shakespeare Festival Feb. 8-24. (Photo provided)

Katie Medford as Beatrice and Jeremy Thompson as John Heminges/Benedick in rehearsal for “Shakespeare’s Other Women” presented by Island Shakespeare Festival Feb. 8-24. (Photo provided)

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