As I was recently preparing another theatre workshop for students at Tübingen University, I was looking for some more scenes for 2 women – or scenes that would work with a “gender-flexible” cast. I had 19 students on my participants’ list and 15 of them were female! So, in addition to the ones I use regularly, I found a few more that worked in this context.
The Cripple of Inishmaan (scene 1 and/or scene 5): 2 f
The scene features Kate and Eileen, 2 elderly shop-owners on a small Irish island. In both scenes they worry about their nephew Billy coming home late, a lot of the comic potential, especially in scene 1 derives from Kate and Eileen switching between worrying about Billy and insulting him.
Othello, act III, scene 4 (starting from “How goes it now? He looks gentler than he did.”): 2 f
Desdemona gets ready for bed, aided by Emilia and has premonitions that she might die soon. Emilia tries to distract her from her worries. Potential difficulty: the scene contains the “willow song”, which should be sung by Desdemona. We tried it without the song because the actress playing Desdemona was worried about singing but I think the scene loses some of its atmosphere without it. For a Shakespeare scene I think the language is not too difficult, however, for a non-native audience Emilia’s monologue at the end can be hard to understand even though it is highly fascinating (as she explains why a woman might in some cases be justified cheating on her husband).
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (“verbal tennis” scene): 2 m (but I think 2 f would also work)
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, Hamlet’s former school friends, have been sent to find out about Hamlet’s madness. In this scene they try to get their slightly rusty wits working again by playing a game of “verbal tennis”. Comic potential: Guildenstern is usually smarter and faster than Rosencrantz. In the workshop I used a too-long version of this scene but I think a shorter excerpt could work very well. In our case two male students acted the scene but I think it could also work with 2 women. For this scene, which I think can be very funny if done well, the actors should have a rough idea of what “Hamlet” is about and should also have a liking for postmodern, slightly absurd theatre.