The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1154 Friday, 18 May 2001
Date: Wednesday, 16 May 2001 15:40:00 -0500
Subject: 12.1144 Re: Color-Blind Casting
Comment: Re: SHK 12.1144 Re: Color-Blind Casting
Larry Weiss says:
>If you want to discuss color-blind casting on its own merits I will be
>happy to do so. I suspect that the issue is not so much over whether
>the race of the actor is irrelevant to his ability to carry the role,
>but whether it should be disregarded even though it is relevant. That
>social and political question makes a great many people uncomfortable;
>so, rather than address it head on, they protest, in effect, that they
>do not notice the actor's color. Frankly, I find such sanctimonious
>protestations highly doubtful.
What I said was that an African playing a Scottish king didn't bother
me. I didn't say I wouldn't notice it. To suggest so is to misread me.
Of course I can't ignore his race. But Larry Weiss goes on to suggest
that Andre Braugher's race is among the categories that make Braugher's
performance less likely to succeed. It may be for him. I can't look into
his mind, in spite of his seeming capacity to look in the minds of
people who disagree with him and doubt what they say. But the race on an
actor does not count against his/her performance when I go see plays. (I
saw a really good African American King of Naples in last year's
production of the Tempest here in Iowa City. He was very, very regal.
Great pipes too.) That may sanctimonious. I'll take the epithet.
A system of theatrical responses that says that African Americans (or
Africans or Asians) can't play Scots as well as Germans and Italians
can, is to my mind, a racist system and, more important to this list, a
serious misreading of what theatre is and should be