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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: May ::
Re: Color-Blind Casting
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1036  Friday, 4 May 2001

From:           John Velz <
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Date:           Friday, 04 May 2001 00:29:59 -0500
Subject:        Black Rosalind

My favorite story about colorblind casting goes back to the earliest
days of that phenomenon, when Zelda Fichthandler did a King Lear with
Frank Silvera in the title role at the Arena Stage in D.C.  Maybe late
1960s.  Albany was Black, as I recall and Cordelia certainly was, a
beautiful sylph-like Black actress.  I thought in Act I scene i "Oh no,
they are going to do the outcast child bit as a racial thing" But they
did not and the play moved along quite well.  When Silvera came on
carrying the dead Cordelia in his arms, I had a quick epiphany. Realized
all of a sudden that Cordelia was cast not for her color but for her
light-weight body. Frank Silvera was not a physically strong actor.

Cheers!

John

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