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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: May ::
Re: Color-Blind Casting and Cordelias
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1072  Wednesday, 9 May 2001

[1]     From:   Don Bloom <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 08 May 2001 09:26:05 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1036 Re: Color-Blind Casting

[2]     From:   Vick Bennison <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 08 May 2001 14:29:25 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1059 Re: Cordelias

[3]     From:   Geralyn Horton <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 08 May 2001 22:41:15 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1059 Re: Cordelias


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Don Bloom <
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Date:           Tuesday, 08 May 2001 09:26:05 -0500
Subject: 12.1036 Re: Color-Blind Casting
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1036 Re: Color-Blind Casting

I have generally been suspicious of "color-blind" casting because I
feared that it moved drama too much into the never-never-land of opera.
You could accept the drama only under conditions that destroyed much of
its impact as drama. And, of course, modern black plays would be
rendered idiotic by casting white actors in definitively black parts.

Yet, I have to confess that I'm reconsidering the whole business --
under compulsion. I saw a brilliant and hysterical production of MSND
recently in which the actor playing Lysander was black. When he first
came on I was stricken with dread that some heavy anti-racism message
would be tacked on, since the actors playing Aegeus, Hermia, Demetrius
and Helena were all white. But they played it straight-up and I quickly
forgot about any lingering racial overtones. The fact that Lysander was
a first-rate actor doubtless made all the difference. Perhaps, too, some
plays (of which MSND is a prime example) are already set so far into
never-never-land that they can't be damaged by lingering and unfortunate
cultural tensions.

--Provided the production is good from top to bottom (pun unintentional
-- really)!

Cheers,
don

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Vick Bennison <
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Date:           Tuesday, 08 May 2001 14:29:25 EDT
Subject: 12.1059 Re: Cordelias
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1059 Re: Cordelias

Stuart Manger asks:

>>Current touring production of RSC 'The Tempest' in >>UK has a white Prospero and a black Miranda. Does that work for you?

Since we know nothing about Prospero's wife, why not?  But in general,
the only thing that doesn't "work" for me is a bad performance.

- Vick

P.S. on the other hand, if we knew Prospero's wife were white, then his
comment:  "Thy mother was a piece of virtue and she said thou wast my
daughter" would become either comical or disingenuous.

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Geralyn Horton <
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Date:           Tuesday, 08 May 2001 22:41:15 -0400
Subject: 12.1059 Re: Cordelias
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1059 Re: Cordelias

Sure-- why not?  We don't know what Prospero's wife looked like.

Now, if Miranda were to speak in a different accent than Prospero's,
given that he has been her only model for speech....

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