Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 1993 :: September ::
Re: Denzel Washington, Race, and Casting
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 570.  Wednesday, 22 Sept. 1993.
 
(1)     From:   Tom Horton <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Monday, 20 Sep 93 15:16:08 -0400
        Subj:   SHK 4.0560  Denzel Washington, Race, and Casting
 
(2)     From:   Susan Harris <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Monday, 20 Sep 1993 17:40:17 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 4.0560 Denzel Washington, Race, and Casting
 
(3)     From:   Siobhan Perricone <SIOBHANP@NORWICH.BITNET>
        Date:   Monday, 20 Sep 1993 15:46:17 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Race and Casting
 
(4)     From:   Jerald Bangham <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Tuesday, 21 Sep 1993 18:52:14
        Subj:   Race, and Casting
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tom Horton <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Monday, 20 Sep 93 15:16:08 -0400
Subject: Denzel Washington, Race, and Casting
Comment:        SHK 4.0560  Denzel Washington, Race, and Casting
 
Regarding what one might surmise about Kenneth Branaugh's intentions when
he cast Denzel Washington as the prince, this exact question was asked
after the screening of the film at SAA in Atlanta back in April.  For what
it's worth, the PR guy from the production company who was there to answer
questions said something to the effect of, "We took the best actors
available who were suited for the part, and race never entered into it."
 
Tom
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Susan Harris <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Monday, 20 Sep 1993 17:40:17 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 4.0560 Denzel Washington, Race, and Casting
Comment:        Re: SHK 4.0560 Denzel Washington, Race, and Casting
 
On Washington, race, and casting:
 
I'm jumping in late and this may be redundant, but I agree with the point
whoever it was made about race mattering or not mattering depending on how
nontraditional casting is used. I also don't think it is "meant" to matter
in Branagh's "Ado," any more than casting Americans for Claudio and Don
John was meant to matter. To a certain extent, though, the choice to cast
Washington would inevitably bring the audience's internalized emotions and
attitudes about race into play just as a casting decision that intended to
do so would. For instance, I think my reaction to Don Pedro being left
behind for the big dance scene was affected by the fact that he was the
only Black actor in the film.
 
I'm also interested to know if anyone remembers the National (I think it
was the National) Theater's production of "The White Devil" a couple years
ago, in which Violetta, Flamineo, and their mother and younger brother
were all Black while everyone else was white. I thought it was an odd
decision and brought in some strange resonances, particularly the mother's
speech over the younger son's dead body--what was originally a lament
about family-on-family violence started to look like a commentary on
Black-on-Black violence. Did anyone else see this production and have the
same reaction?
 
Susan Harris

 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Siobhan Perricone <SIOBHANP@NORWICH.BITNET>
Date:           Monday, 20 Sep 1993 15:46:17 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        Race and Casting
 
When we did "A Midsummer Night's Dream" last year, we had a black Oberon
playing against a very white Titania.  They were also cast as Hippolyta
and Theseus.  It was really cool, but I don't think the director was
trying to make a political statement.
 
Hmm...
 
(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jerald Bangham <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Tuesday, 21 Sep 1993 18:52:14
Subject:        Race, and Casting
 
>On the subject of race and casting, I submit that sometimes "non-realistic"
>casting is intended to make a point and sometimes it isn't.  I've heard of a
>Mississippi production of *R&J* where the Montagues are all black and the
>Capulets all white; obviously, race matters here.
 
I was in the production.  I might point out that we also had a female Tybalt.
Also our Juliet opens tonight in "LA PD Blue"  which we don't get to see in
Mississippi.
 
One interesting comment from a local cast member.  The show opened with a brawl
between black students in the local high school and white students from the
local military academy.
 
The cast member pointed out that there is no fighting between black and white
students (except for things sponsored by Mississippi Cultural Crossroads - the
organization that was responsible for R & J - there is little interaction at
all).
 
However, when the high school was all white, the high school students fought
the military school students all of the time. The racial conflicts are
expressed in quite different ways.
 
I guess that the point of my comments is that, while it was a really amazing
production with great original music, I'm not sure that the white vs. black
aspect of the show really worked.
 
Jerry Bangham

 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
 

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.