Reviews

“A depth of talent that you are not likely to experience anywhere else”— SHERRI RASE, QONSTAGE

My Solo Show – “Shakespeare and the Alchemy of Gender”  – offering a unique celebration of the enchanting power of cross-gender Shakespeare. An activist as well as a celebrated actress and director, my work speaks toward liberation from the “gender box” of expectations.

★★★★★

UK Theatre Network,

“Lisa Wolpe’s mesmerising performance celebrates Shakespeare’s language and shows the humanity of his writing. Wolpe finds solace in the Bard’s work whilst her family struggles to cope with their often tragic history. Bursting with energy but also mastering the gentler notes, Wolpe provides samples of her Shylock, Romeo, Juliet, Hamlet, Hermione, Richard III, and Prospero… The Rose Playhouse is the perfect site for Lisa Wolpe’s show – a celebration of Shakespeare’s humanism, love and life.”

A Younger Theatre,

“As a visionary theatre artist, Wolpe is best known as the Producing Artistic Director of the LA Women’s Shakespeare Company. It’s an all-female company that spans across all ages and races. Wolpe’s intention is to bring enlightenment to her audiences… Regardless of how brushed up you are on your Shakespeare, it is impossible not to be touched by her heartfelt performance…”

The Play’s The Thing UK,

“At 19 years old, Lisa Wolpe fell in love with Shakespeare. She’s now performed more of Shakespeare’s male roles than any woman in history after founding Los Angeles Women’s Shakespeare Company twenty years ago. She is currently touring the world with her solo show, Shakespeare & The Alchemy of Gender. Although it sounds like an academic lecture, it contains some of the best Shakespeare performances I have seen. The play pays homage to her father, telling the man’s story and how he affected her life…”

“Definitely a must-see for anyone interested in the development of Shakespeare productions in recent years and wanting to experience the work of one of the most notable proponents of cross-gender casting.”

http://twohourstrafficofourstage.blogspot.com/2015/07/shakespeare-and-alchemy-of-gender.html

“In her show she certainly not only mapped but inhabited shifting realms of thought and myriad niches of human emotion. Such a joy and nourishment to see and hear Shakespeare played so truthfully and fully…Theatre well done exercises empathy. Wolpe, in this article says: ‘If we can build empathy, we can invigorate the purpose of art, which is to create alliances that save lives and offer hope.”

http://www.petalily.com/clown-dark-clown-theatre-practice-blog/category/gender

NEW YORK

HowlRound

“The political mission of this project is to create a forum for the exploration of brilliant Shakespeare that will be resplendent and variegated in its constituency. And that will lead into different visual representations, different conceptual and design presentations, but it will never change the fact that we all need to do the text beautifully. We use it to source ourselves personally, psychologically, and politically. And, we apply what we learn to this moment. We present the positive, of finally having a role worthy of your humanity.”

http://howlround.com/transhakespeare-lisa-wolpe-and-the-art-of-empathy

LOS ANGELES

http://isechronicle.uvic.ca/index.php/Var/2013/05/01/shakespeare_and_the_alchemy_of_gender

VANCOUVER, B.C.

“It was unexpectedly gut-wrenching, at the same time fascinating, thought-provoking, and in fact transcendent… I just hope Vancouver gets another chance to see this show, and that I do.”

https://beyondyvr.wordpress.com/2014/07/28/review-shakespeare-and-the-alchemy-of-gender-lisa-wolpes-

“Wolpe knows how to tell stories, personal and Shakespearean, and she does so with power and panache. Her Romeo is bold and flirtatious, Hamlet is wracked with uncertainty and Shylock reveals a determined, well-reasoned, revengeful soul…Through the words of Shakespeare, Ms. Wolpe tackles contemporary political and social issues, offers perspectives on the haunting influences of war, violence and victimization and provides a glimpse of the resilience, hope and humanity that makes a life worth living. She’s equally adept at telling her own story and the many tales told together result in an engaging, heartrending, satisfying time in the theatre.”

 solo-show-orpheum-annex-july-16/

OREGON SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL

“She approaches characters such as Iago and Hamlet in challenging and illuminating ways. It’s a pleasure to have this company member returning to share some master work.”

http://www.broadwayworld.com/portland/article/OSF-to-Stage-Lisa-Wolpes-SHAKESPEARE-AND-THE-ALCHEMY-OF-GENDER-91-20140825

AMERICAN THEATER MAGAZINE

“Playing Shakespeare’s great roles is an alchemical process about unpacking the vulnerability of a villain or a man in order to understand why men do what they do.”

http://www.americantheatre.org/2014/08/13/lisa-wolpe-uses-shakespeare-to-bend-gender-roles-around-the-country/

 

As “Iago” in Othello
‘Othello’: Villainous Iago steals the show Lisa Wolpe is a standout bad guy. Iago is notorious not just for making Othello run amok with jealousy. He’s also a brazen scene stealer, offering an actor abundant opportunities to eclipse the play’s tragically duped protagonist.

In the Theatre @ Boston Court’s all-female take on “Othello,” a co-production with the Los Angeles Women’s Shakespeare Company, Iago actually deserves title-character status. Director Lisa Wolpe saves her most interesting interpretation for the diabolic ensign, a role she performs so naturally that you’re hardly aware of any cross-dressing trickery. – Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times


As “Shylock” in The Merchant of Venice
Los Angeles Women’s Shakespeare Company, after eleven years of stand-out productions, has nothing left to prove. The gender question has no bearing on the quality of the work in this terrific production. Lisa Wolpe, who founded the company, and is producer, director, and a superb actor, has played a diversity of Shakespeare’s male roles, all with a dedication to excellence and a palpable celebration of language. Her Richard III was memorable, as was her Hamlet, and her current Shylock may be the most outstanding of any viewed in a multitude of productions, here and in England. – Madeleine Shaner, Backstage West


IN HER INTERNATIONALLY ACCLAIMED SOLO SHOW, “SHAKESPEARE AND THE ALCHEMY OF GENDER” – “Lisa Wolpe’s solo show brings wry humor and Shakespearean insight to a range of wrenchingly difficult subject matters, including sexism, domestic abuse, suicide, and the Holocaust.”— THE NEW YORKER

Ms. Wolpe demonstrates a fluid physicality and a soothing vocal expressiveness. Wolpe quite adeptly offers rich characterizations of some of those most illustrious roles. In addition she seamlessly switches to delivering revelatory reminiscences and concise analysis of the plays with élan that recalls Spalding Gray’s monologues. The combination of these elements yields to a wonderful performance.”— DARRYL REILLY, THEATERSCENE.NET

The School for Wives

It is really quite marvelous the way Lisa Wolpe gives the deprived and limited Agnes such a fullness of characterization: naivete, tenderness, romantic passion, anger, stubbornness, vulnerability, a delectable misture of willfulness and complaisance, each trait coming into play with the most unassuming naturalness and in spontaneous, appropriate response to each situation. Miss Wolpe is truly an actress, in the sense that she does not merely play herself. I have seen her as the tomboyish sister in the Rep’s “Curse of the Starving Class”, as the debonair, elegant, noble-hearted Julia in “The Rivals”, and now as Moliere’s lovable exemplar of fresh innocence and strength of soul. They cannot all be Lisa Wolpe.

— Jonathan Saville, San Diego Reader.

Zara Spook and Other Lures

Ackerman is blessed with a first-rate cast, particularly Lisa Wolpe as Ramona. This is a commanding performance… There is a tough, gritty texture to Wolpe’s Ramona, a woman who clearly is exhilarated by the mystic New Mexico setting. She has few illusions about life. She is proud and resilient, able to accept and deal with most, if not all, of the quirky contradictions life throws at her. At the same time, she is not an unfeeling woman. She wraps a gentle air of protectiveness around Evelyn that is respectful of Evelyn’s nature and personality. — Ed Segal, The Berkshire Eagle.

Curse of the Starving Class

Miss Wolpe makes the most of this role and at the same time reveals herself as an actress of exceptional talent…The glitter in her eyes and the rapt joyfulness of her face as she recounts her pathetic daydream are something to behold. This is the high point of the whole production. — Jonathan Saville, San Diego Reader

The Merchant of Venice (Ovation Nomination, “Best Leading Actress” 2005)
Lisa Wolpe, a superb actor, has played a diversity of Shakespeare’s male roles, all with a dedication to excellence and a palpable celebration of language. Her Richard III was memorable, as was her Hamlet, and her current Shylock may be the most outstanding of any viewed in a multitude of productions, here and in England.
— Madeleine Shaner, Backstage West

The Winter’s Tale

As vengeful King Leontes, Lisa Wolpe has a startling grasp on Shakespeare’s text and the function of each line she speaks. Summoning such crystalline emotion as to leave us breathless, she gives an awe-inspiring depiction of love turned to tyranny.
— Laura Weinert, Backstage West

Lisa Wolpe sets immediate high standards with a masterful performance. — Philip Brandes, LA Times

Twelfth Night

Wolpe is an ideal Viola, at times demurely feminine, at times convincingly boyish… — F. Kathleen Foley, L.A. Times

Much Ado About Nothing

At the center of this agreeable production is Lisa Wolpe’s hilariously virile Benedick… she propels the comedy with heartfelt rhythm and pace. — Philip Brandes, Los Angeles Times

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Lisa Wolpe has outdone herself again, as creative visionary, as director, and as the young hero Lysander; frankly, she could easily confuse the hormones of the most secure individual of any sexual persuasion. There is a palpable spirit and joy that radiates in waves from this not-to-be missed presentation, one of the true theatrical highlights of the year in Los Angeles.
— PICK OF THE WEEK – Travis Michael Holder, Entertainment Today

Measure for Measure

Lisa Wolpe’s performance as Angelo can be measured only by the highest rule – it is intense, focused, inspired and magnificent. — Madeleine Shaner, Nightlife Today

Among this engaging cast, Lisa Wolpe stands out… she affords a chilling glimpse of moral decay cloaked in sanctimony – the universal garb of corrupt politicians, past and present.
— F. Kathleen Foley, Los Angeles Times

Richard III

Lisa Wolpe delivers an overwhelming, hypnotic portrayal of the dominating central figure. Her inspiration and energy never flag as she imparts shape and depth to Richard’s Machiavellian nature… a brilliant, revelatory staging!

— Tony Tran, Los Angeles View

Wolpe is a mesmerizing and miraculous Richard, giving him such a slithery, most gleeful joy in his deathly web of twisted and world-class scheming that it makes one want to – appropriately – go home and take a shower. Thanks to the determination of Lisa Wolpe and her Los Angeles Women’s Shakespeare Company, even theatrical perfection recognized for several centuries can obviously be improved upon.

— Travis Michael Holder, Entertainment Today

The best Richard III this critic has seen in years… an evening of Shakespeare at his finest. — J.R. Clark – Drama-Logue

A gem… Lisa Wolpe, in the title role, is at once beguiling and obscene, conveying all the necessary slime, sex and charm to bring the beast off the page.
— Judith Lewis, L.A. Weekly

Shakespeare would rave about Lisa Wolpe’s outstanding performance of the title role. She is so good, in fact, that the other actors onstage with her often get lost in the background.
— Bari Newport, Backstage West

Lisa Wolpe wears evil’s wiles and seductions like a well-fitting garment, broad and bold in her demonic intensity, loveless and alone, full of intellect, fire and power untempered by moral restraints, and taking such evident glee in the portrayal of the 100% character that is rarely written for a woman.
— BEST BET – Madeleine Shaner, ShowCase Entertainment Magazine

Hamlet

Intense and boyish, Wolpe mitigates the Dane’s melancholy with a highly developed sense of irony that persists until the last gasp. It’s a convincingly sexy performance, whatever your gender.
— F. Kathleen Foley, Los Angeles Times

A glorious rendition…with superb production values and a gifted cast… Kudos go to Wolpe for a production that

matches anything found on the boards at the Royal Shakespeare Company.

— CRITIC’S PICK – J. Brenna Guthrie, Backstage West

In a title role that is universally regarded as one of the most psychologically complex character studies of all time, Wolpe fully embodies Hamlet and brings a veritable rainbow of emotions to the role. This is a Hamlet to be studied and savored, a revelation for newcomers to the text and a fresh awakening for veterans.
— Elias Stimac, Drama-Logue