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Home :: Archive :: 2000 :: June ::
Re: To be an actor or not to be an actress
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.1210  Tuesday, 13 June 2000.

[1]     From:   Dana Shilling <
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        Date:   Monday, 12 Jun 2000 10:20:08 -0400
        Subj:   Re: To be an actor or not to be an actress

[2]     From:   Sean Lawrence <
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        Date:   Monday, 12 Jun 2000 09:13:57 -0700
        Subj:   Re: To be an actor or not to be an actress

[3]     From:   Melissa D. Aaron <
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        Date:   Monday, 12 Jun 2000 10:05:13 -0700
        Subj:   Re: To be an actor or not to be an actress

[4]     From:   Mike Jensen <
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        Date:   Monday, 12 Jun 2000 12:21:06 -0700
        Subj:   Re: To be an actor or not to be an actress


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Dana Shilling <
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Date:           Monday, 12 Jun 2000 10:20:08 -0400
Subject:        Re: To be an actor or not to be an actress

I find it ironic that on a Shakespeare list the argument would be raised
that the term "actress" is proper because it denotes a female person
hired to play a female character. (Robertson Davies wrote a book about
"Shakespeare's Boy Actresses," but I've never been able to find a copy.)
I've seen several M4M productions (even those that were otherwise
traditionally cast) with a female Escalus. Many secondary (and even some
primary) characters in many works of art serve a plot or thematic
function in which gender is unimportant: the person who delivers a
crucial piece of exposition often might as easily be male as female, or
vice versa.

Dana

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <
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Date:           Monday, 12 Jun 2000 09:13:57 -0700
Subject:        Re: To be an actor or not to be an actress

Sam Small writes:

> The term I am REALLY getting sick of is "PC".

So am I.  It seems that every considerate allowance for anyone's beliefs
or sensibilities is automatically labeled as "PC" and thereby dismissed.

> And I am more sick of PC comments.  I consider Shakespeare the greatest,
> widest, bravest and freest writer I have read.  The very antithesis of
> the politically correct.

I'm not sure.  Being sensitive to people has been, since the romantics
at least, considered important to great art.  I don't see any reason why
Shakespeare as artist is automatically incapable of being considerate
enough to call an actor an actor.  Being "wide, brave and free" doesn't
automatically make you gratuitously offensive.

By the way, Judy Lewis raises some interesting points.  I was reading in
a French publication a short while ago how appalling it seems (in
French) that women with professional positions are converted into
hermaphrodites by the tendency to use only male nouns to describe
professions.  But in the end, this is an issue that, I think, should be
left for women in the acting professions to decide upon, not us.

Cheers,
Se

 

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