Gender swapping, comfy chairs and breaking into song: The trends of the year.

December 13, 2000.By City Pages.

1. Masculine/Feminine

While two of the best plays of the season dealt explicitly with questions of gender confusion (Frank Theatre’s The Adventures of Herculina and Outward Spiral’s Ladies and Gentlemen), a notable number of Cities theaters decided to put genderfuck theory into practice and cast their plays without regard to what sex played what character. A small sampling: The Theatre de la Jeune Lune cast Sarah Agnew and Barbara Berlovitz in the two lead male roles (a sociapathic freeloader and a corrupt town mayor), while saving the most outrageous female role for a hammy, mordant Steven Epp. With a simple change of posture and vocal tone, Stephen D’Ambrose played a dizzying array of characters, both male and female, in the Jungle’s production of The Pavilion. Green T.’s production of Kabuki! 47 Samurai featured women in all but a few of the male roles, which certainly added a new dimension to this hoary Japanese classic.

Both Janelle Ranek and Keving Pearson played characters opposite their own genders in Yard Sale 2000 at the Bryant-Lake Bowl. Matthew Bennet depicted a young woman in Ten Years Apart at the Ordway. Tod Peteresen continued his career-making turn as his own mother in the revival of Oh S#!%, I’m Turning Into My Mother, and his new holiday show A Christmas Carole Petersen. Finally, actor Charles Schuminski took on female roles in both Talk to Me like the Rain at the Jungle Theater and in the Hidden Theatre’s production Pride’s Crossing; both performances put him in the running for the best actress in the Twin Cities. The latter play, by the way, also featured Ann Milligan as an athletic young man. Whew.