Gender battles usually revolve around who gets to wear the pants. In the Hasty Pudding Theatricals, it's a question of who gets to wear the brassieres. Our tender hearts go out to Winsome S. Brown '95, a woman with a mission: to play a man. Brown forced the Pudding into a quandary last week when she auditioned for the annual show, dressed as a character of her invention named "Nicholas Pettybone."
Brown understands the purpose of the Pudding, and seems to grasp the joys of transvestism. In keeping with tradition, she had hoped to play a man in this year's production, "A Forum Affair!" Drag, Brown points out rightly, is a two-way street. (Last weekend, Brown played a male character in "Jurassic Park: The Rock Opera.")
Through a loophole in the Hasty Pudding charter, women can audition for the traditionally all-male cast. But it's a bit like auditioning to a wall. Regardless of how good Winsome Brown is, how well she played either male or female parts, she won't be allowed to perform in the cast, simply because she is female.
Hidebound Hasty Pudding officers told The Crimson it just can't be done. They appealed, conveniently, to the organization's charter. But we've already seen this semester how charters can change. Just look at the Fly Club.
It's difficult, these days, to appeal to the past. A lot about Harvard was once allmale. The College itself, for one. The Hasty Pudding Club, to name another. Now, women can be members of the club. Women are part of the crew and the play's business staff. The cast seems the next logical step.
We're not suggesting anything so radical as having women play female parts--we like seeing men in tights and high heels as much as anyone. Adding women to the cast in male parts would enhance, not diminish, the special transvestite ambience of the Pudding. It would also give female actors the chance to perform in the biggest budget theatrical extravaganza on campus. Many famous personalities got their start in the Pudding (just ask Governor Weld)--women deserve an equal opportunity to such exposure.
Instead of clinging, pantyhose-like, to their charter, Pudding members ought to give Brown's not-so-modest proposal a little thought. An organization so tightly bound to tradition that it's members wouldn't even consider changing. Now that would be a drag.