Jack hath not Jill in
"Love's labour's Lost"
By Beth Rigel Daugherty
Never before have so many women been
involved with the annual Baker College
Shakespearean production at Rice University.
They are working in all areas of the play
—set crew, costumes, acting, administration and directing for Love's Labour's
The direction of the play is set by the
producer, Stephanie Shine, an undergraduate at Rice University. She chose the director for the production, a woman, and is
responsible for bringing and keeping the
company together and managing the business and publicity details.
"I enjoy coordinating, putting things
together, calling people to do things and
then seeing those things actually done,"
The director, Thad Logan, also feels the
creative power of causing something to
"I have a vision of a play in my head
and it's exciting to translate that vision into reality," said the director, a graduate
student in English at Rice.
Filled with mockery and wit, Love's
Labour's Lost wraps its message in a world
of fun. The lords woo the ladies with jewels and fine words. With "taffeta phrases,
"The theatre I do tends to be leftist in that
it's not elitist. You can't do Shakespeare just
for English professors who know the plays by
Thad Logan, director
Love's Labour's Lost
silken terms, precise" and "golden cadence" they try to seduce the ladies into
a world where language can transform
The play is about pleasure and the dangers and delights of lives lived under pleasure's banner. Within such a framework,
Shakespeare examines romantic and married love, the use and abuse of language,
reality and fantasy.
"Critics often interpret the play as a
conversion of the lords to the ladies' reality principle, but the values placed on reality and fantasy in the play elude easy
classification," Logan said.
In Love's Labour's Lost, the female
characters dominate much of the plot as
well as the outcome. Logan said Shakespeare "seems aware of what we'd call
feminist concerns." And in this comedy,
the women reject the usual conclusion
-they tell the lords to forget about marriage, at least for a year. To this, one of
the lords, Berowne, responds, "Our wooing doth not end like an old play. Jack
hath not Jill."
Shakespeare's women are strong, competent and intelligent. They work together
without being competitive or feeling
threatened; they are self-sufficient and
understand business; they have energy
and wit; they enjoy the company of the
lords, but they do not need men. They
question the conventions of romantic
love and the sexual games the lords play.
The women are so much stronger than
the men they may seem very rude, Logan
said. "But the women are only rude be
cause of the arrogant assumptions by the
The women in the play function as a
group but they are also individuals.
The princess is the leader, she decides
the course of action. Rosaline, played by
Yvonne Leach, often scoffs at the men by
ridiculing Berowne's conceit. Katarine,
played by Nancy Packer, sometimes takes
a little longer to fully realize what is happening. Maria does not deride the men so
thoroughly perhaps because she wants
marriage more than the others. But she
does not want marriage at any price and
so makes demands of her lord.
"A play potentially widens the audience's vision but language is only one
means to reach that potential," said
Logan. Since the language of a Shakespearean play can become a barrier to
understanding, the presentation of Love's
Labour's Lost assumes an added importance.
For Logan, two things help surmount
this barrier: the development of a stage
language and an implicit permission
among the actors and directors to innovate
in a cooperative atmosphere.
"The theatre I do tends to be leftist
in that it's not elitist," said Logan. "You
can't do Shakespeare just for English professors who know the plays by heart."
Some people think a Shakespearean
production is successful if the actors stand
in the theatre and say the lines beautifully. Not Thad Logan. She is keeping the
integrity of the ideas and language, with
all their complexities, but her play is not
dependent on the words for the outcome
of the production.
For her, staging a play involves finding
a stage language that is more visual.
She believes the play communicates
experience, new ways of seeing things,
rather than just ideas. Shakespeare's plays
are popular because he reaches all kinds
of people, Logan said, not just those who
are classically trained.
There is something special about a
Baker College production and Logan welcomes it. The actors do not have to make
money, they have a long time to rehearse
and neither their egos nor their careers are
on the line. Therefore, everyone has a
chance to try something, to suggest, to
create. But more important, Logan said,
the players have the freedom to fail, giving them the freedom to learn what works
and what does not.
Have there been any problems because
she is a woman director?
• "I feel androgynous when I'm directing
—it's wonderful.I get on stage and demonstrate what I want. I am constantly
switching back and forth between male
and female roles. As a result, I become unconscious of the limitations put on either
sex. I forget sex roles, though not sexuality. It's as though both sexes are accessible
to me. Because of this, the actors respond
to me as androgynous and I think that's
why I haven't had trouble."
Marilyn Marshall Jones
Page 20 HOUSTON BREAKTHROUGH March 1978