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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: August ::
Re: Colour-Blind Casting
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1584  Monday, 11 August 2003

[1]     From:   Kathy Dent <
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        Date:   Friday, 08 Aug 2003 12:41:20 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1568 Re: Colour-Blind Casting

[2]     From:   Martin Steward <
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        Date:   Friday, 8 Aug 2003 14:31:41 +0100
        Subj:   SHK 14.1577 Re: Colour-Blind Casting

[3]     From:   Jack Kamen <
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        Date:   Friday, 8 Aug 2003 10:32:34 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1577 Re: Colour-Blind Casting

[4]     From:   Kelley Costigan <
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        Date:   Friday, 8 Aug 2003 20:18:39 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1577 Re: Colour-Blind Casting


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Kathy Dent <
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Date:           Friday, 08 Aug 2003 12:41:20 +0100
Subject: 14.1568 Re: Colour-Blind Casting
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1568 Re: Colour-Blind Casting

Sam Small writes:

>Supporters of the "anyone can play anything" theory, such as Brian
>Willis, forget one glaring fact in their world view of commercial
>dramatic performance.  Their examples of this lurid cross casting is
>almost exclusively in the theatre.  The reason for this is that no-one
>really cares what people do in theatres anymore.

What Sam appears to overlook is that film and TV are predominantly
naturalistic media and the theatre is not.  Theatre actors work on our
imaginary forces and are therefore not limited by much of the bland pap
called realism.

And before he condemns the all-female Richard III - has he seen it?
Kathryn Hunter's performance as Richard outshines Henry Goodman's
current offering at the RSC (although he's pretty good too).  And I
don't believe that Henry Goodman in any way resembles a bunch-backed
toad in real life, so shouldn't he have been disqualified from playing
the role?  How come we can suspend our disbelief when able bodied or
good looking people play against type, but not the other way around?

Last year Simon Russell Beale encountered disfavour from American
critics for being too fat.  Where's it gonna end, Sam?

Kathy Dent

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Martin Steward <
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Date:           Friday, 8 Aug 2003 14:31:41 +0100
Subject: Re: Colour-Blind Casting
Comment:        SHK 14.1577 Re: Colour-Blind Casting

"I've appreciated being aware of the maturation process (my belief)
society is going through", Thomas Lahey announces. "We are working at
becoming blind to religious/race/sex/age/sexual-orientation when we
interact with people."

That's "mature"???

Throughout this strand, the use of the terms "blind" and "colour-blind"
suggest a less than attractive "blindness" to the predicament of those
people among us who happen really to be "blind" or "colour-blind". How
did we get to the point where we can say, without any
self-consciousness, that "blindness" of any sort is a positive thing?

Besides, Thomas isn't as "blind" as he'd like to be, if his views on
religion are anything to go by:

"I believe one of the wisest ideas the founding fathers implemented was
separation of church & state.  I think the idea should be extended:
Keep church & everything separate, including SHAKSPER!"

What on earth could he mean? That SHAKSPERians ought not to bring
insights from Anglican (or Christian???) theology into discussions about
Shakespeare, his works, life and times?

Surely not - that would be an intemperate and intolerant sort of
"immature" suggestion, wouldn't it? One might respond by demanding a
moratorium on contributions by freemasons!

m

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jack Kamen <
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Date:           Friday, 8 Aug 2003 10:32:34 -0500
Subject: 14.1577 Re: Colour-Blind Casting
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1577 Re: Colour-Blind Casting

In 1995 I attended a Peter Sellers production of M of V at Chicago's
Goodman theatre. Paul Butler, who is Afro-American was cast as Shylock.
Never have I witnessed a more heart-rending, poignant portrayal. His
performance still resonates in my consciousness. In this instance, at
least, if color was of any consequence, it was to reinforce the tragedy
of discrimination common to both groups.

Jack Kamen

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Kelley Costigan <
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Date:           Friday, 8 Aug 2003 20:18:39 +0100
Subject: 14.1577 Re: Colour-Blind Casting
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1577 Re: Colour-Blind Casting

I'm coming in late here, but thought I'd like to make a technical point
to Stuart Manger who writes ' On a very simple level, I just find it
difficult to see a white man and wife and their black son on stage. Yes,
I know all the issues, but it takes an effort. And as someone said
before, you couldn't cast a black Desdemona against Othello, surely? No
more white Cleopatras?'

Cleopatra was of Greek origin and not from Africa, so while she isn't
'black', she's not 'white', either.

I like the idea of colour-blind casting, but I think that people have a
long way to go before it's accepted by audiences.  When an actor and
production (and an audience) work together and suspend that ol'
disbelief, magic happens.  It's telling the story and wrapping the
hearers (and viewers) up in its weave and taking them for a ride of
wonder.

Just thought I'd drop that into the mix.

Take care,
Kelley Costigan
Blood & Thunder Theatre Company

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