Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 1995 :: March ::
Re: Wilson Bio; Casting; Hippie *Othello*
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0226.  Sunday, 19 March 1995.
 
(1)     From:   Sara Jayne Steen<
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Saturday, 18 Mar 1995 10:27:00 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0222  Wilson Bio
 
(2)     From:   Marty Jukovsky <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Friday, 17 Mar 95 21:11:29 -0800
        Subj:   Fwd: Re: Non-traditional casting
 
(3)     From:   Marty Jukovsky <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Sunday, 19 Mar 95 11:17:32 -0800
        Subj:   Fwd: Catch My Soul
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sara Jayne Steen<
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Saturday, 18 Mar 1995 10:27:00 -0500
Subject: 6.0222  Wilson Bio
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0222  Wilson Bio
 
In discussing Ian Wilson's biography, David Kathman makes mention of the recent
editor of Lanyer who disputes Rowse's claims that Lanyer was Shakespeare's Dark
Lady.  The editor is Susanne Woods and the volume *The Poems of Aemilia
Lanyer,* Women Writers in English 1350-1850 (New York: Oxford University Press,
1993).
 
Sara Jayne Steen
Montana State University
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Marty Jukovsky <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Friday, 17 Mar 95 21:11:29 -0800
Subject:        Fwd: Re: Non-traditional casting
 
I thought the following would be of interest to the folks on the SHAKSPER list.
 It's part of the very interesting ongoing discussion concerning
non-traditional casting on the musicals list.
 
Martin Jukovsky
Cambridge, Mass.

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

 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
   writes:
> I generally agree with the above-- although whites play  Othello all the
> time.
 
On film, Orson Welles played a good Othello; Olivier, on the other hand,
didn't.  Robeson's stage performance was legendary, but New York audiences ca.
1930 weren't able to accept the idea of a Black man playing opposite a white
woman.  In this current climate, when excellent Black actors have such
difficulty breaking into theater (especially classical theater), casting
Othello as a white actor seems a grave injustice, if not an outright insult, to
the pool of Black acting talent.
 
Ruth Cowlig (I think I've spelled the name correctly) wrote an excellent
article on the stage history of the character Othello; apparently, after
Shakespeare's own day, it was not until the early 1900's that audiences
realized Othello was Black.  Even with this realization, many literary critics
such as Ripley (infamous editor of The Arden Shakespeare) tried to bleach
Othello's Blackness, claiming that the character was not coarse enough to be
authentically Black, that the character was a mulatto with only a small
fraction of Black blood in him, that the character is best envisioned with a
classical profile and an aquiline nose, ad nauseam.
 
> I think the basic rule should be clarity.  As long as the audience knows who
> is supposed to be who, they can use their imagination.
 
However, the imagination of American audiences often proves extremely limited
when racial concerns come into play.
 
> Another side to the question:  I usually put color-blind casting at the top
> of my cast of characters page, but it seems to be used as an excuse for
> all-white casts, rather than as an incentive for racial diversity.
 
This indeed raises a major problem in the issue of non-trad casting, best
summed up with the following question: would an all-white or largely white cast
of, say, Hansberry's _A Raisin in the Sun_ or Wilson's _Fences_ be
conscionable?  Of course not.
 
Again, I reiterate my position: when the social construct of race is not an
explicit concern of the play (and in most plays, I would argue, it is not),
non-traditional casting is quite effective and should be used.  But when the
social construct of race is an explicit concern, casting should be handled in a
manner appropriate to the issues of the play.
 
Timothy R. Hulsey
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Marty Jukovsky <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Sunday, 19 Mar 95 11:17:32 -0800
Subject:        Fwd: Catch My Soul
 
I thought this would be of interest to readers of the SHAKSPER list.  It's from
the Musicals list.
 
Martin Jukovsky
Cambridge, Mass.

 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
 
********************************
I came across a recording of this oddity recently ... it's a musical version of
_Othello_, made in the early '70s, with (get this) Othello as a preacher who
converts an entire hippie commune and Iago angry at not being made a deacon.
 
After one listening, the music strikes me as fairly awful, though I am prepared
to allow for the possibility that it may grow on me. Iago does most of the
singing.  Desdemona doesn't sing at all, which seems odd to me.
 
The album has lots of pictures which seem to have come from a film. Was this
ever a stage show, or was it made as a film?  Has anyone seen it?  Is it
available on video?  Awful music or not, I'll admit to being intrigued enough
to give it a look if I get the chance.
 
J.A.Y.
 

Other Messages In This Thread

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.