Later this year, Hedwig and the Angry Inch embarks on a National tour following a successful run on Broadway. Darren Criss will reprise the titular role, as will Lena Hall who played Yitzhak in a Tony winning performance. For one night a week though, Hall will play Hedwig, making Broadway history as the only actor to have played both lead roles.
Performing both roles will no doubt be a revelation for audiences and Hale alike. In a previous blog, I discussed the benefit of actors alternating roles and the effect this has on their characterisation. London has seen a handful of actors given the chance to play both leads, with the leads of RSC’s Doctor Faustus having no idea whether they will play Faustus or Mephistopheles before coming on stage.
So in light of this pending transfer and Hale’s news, today I thought I’d look at other roles I’d like to see alternated on stage for one night only.
Alexander Hamilton/ Aaron Burr
I want to be in the room where that happens.
Or just the room where the show happens…
Basically, I want to see Hamilton.
I can’t think of two better figures to alternate. Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton. The man who waits for it, and the man who doesn’t throw away his shot. The man who pulled the trigger and the man who didn’t. The man who in the end didn’t wait for it, and the man who did throw away his shot.
I imagine it would be quite effective for audiences and affective for the actors themselves.
This one is more for the Shakespeare scholar in me. Though the text in no way supports this reading, I would love to see a production which subverts the genders of be lead roles, having them alternate.
Just the idea of having a female Macbeth, a Boudica-esque figure with an ambitious lord. It wouldn’t be the first time a woman has gone to war in Shakespeare, as the Hollow Crown reminds us with Joan of Arc and Margaret. And then going back to playing their original roles; perhaps this would further deepen the actress playing Lady Macbeth’s desire to gain the crown.
The text of course would have to be adapted somewhat:
Come to my woman’s breasts,
And take my milk for gall…
But other lines could work wonders with a this subversion, bringing to light new readings. Imagine a female Lady Macbeth declaring:
I dare do all that may become a man;
Who dares do more is none.
This one is purely for fun!
In every production, you can see the actresses playing the two leads are just loving it. So to see them alternate for one night and play each other’s? That would be quite the experience.
Unlike Macbeth, I don’t think it would necessarily bring to light any new characterisation/reading. But I would still love to see it and see them tackle each other’s intricate harmonies! And without skipping back into their own ones!