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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: April ::
Re: Black Rosalind
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.0839  Monday, 16 April 2001

[1]     From:   Geralyn Horton <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 11 Apr 2001 13:18:48 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0831 Re: Black Rosalind

[2]     From:   Peter Hyland <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 11 Apr 2001 13:34:36 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0831 Re: Black Rosalind


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Geralyn Horton <
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Date:           Wednesday, 11 Apr 2001 13:18:48 -0400
Subject: 12.0831 Re: Black Rosalind
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0831 Re: Black Rosalind

Stephanie Hughes <
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>Certainly actors of all colors have played many
>(all?) of Shakespeare's roles without disturbing audiences or critics.
>That the author intended us to regard her as of African descent is
>another question and one that has been rather thoroughly gone over

I'm not so sure that interest has been exhausted.  Shakespeare & Co.
(Lenox MA) cast a black King of Narvarre, a dark eyed but otherwise
"white" Rosaline, and a light skinned African American actress of
abundant classical skill as one of the other ladies.  The resultant
cognitive dissonance at every reference to "blackness" was disturbing in
the extreme-- there were shocked gasps from the audience at each such
line-- but I saw no reviews in which critics found a way to talk about
this. I have the feeling that if we could find a way, it would be very
instructive.   Any suggestions?

Geralyn Horton
Newton, Mass. 02460
<http://www.stagepage.org>

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Peter Hyland <
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Date:           Wednesday, 11 Apr 2001 13:34:36 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 12.0831 Re: Black Rosalind
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0831 Re: Black Rosalind

Stephanie Hughes wrote:

>I believe the original post that began this thread had to do with the
>author's vision of Rosaline's race, not what color the actress may be
>who plays the role. Certainly actors of all colors have played many
>(all?) of Shakespeare's roles without disturbing audiences or critics.
>That the author intended us to regard her as of African descent is
>another question and one that has been rather thoroughly gone over
>recently with regard to his vision of Cleopatra, so that it seems
>redundant to discuss it further.

Good Heavens! What a peculiarly authoritarian position! If Stephanie
Hughes will go back to "the original post that began this thread" she
will find that David Schalkwyk asked "Has anyone ever suggested that
Rosalind [sic], in Love's Labour's Lost, is racially black?" This
question can surely apply to a director as much as to a scholar/critic;
both speculate on "the author's vision". A director who decides to cast
a black actor in a role in which the actor's colour might be relevant is
doing something different from the kind of colour-blind casting to which
Ms Hughes refers. Susanne Collier's response to David Schalkwyk's
question, like my own, is surely perfectly reasonable, however tedious
Ms Hughes might find the issue.

Peter Hyland

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