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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: July ::
Re: Othello on Bloom
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1377  Monday, 7 July 2003

[1]     From:   David Lindley <
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        Date:   Thursday, 3 Jul 2003 14:31:13 GMT0BST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1363 Re: Othello on Bloom

[2]     From:   Don Bloom <
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        Date:   Thursday, 3 Jul 2003 17:52:21 -0500
        Subj:   RE: SHK 14.1334 Re: Othello on Bloom


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Lindley <
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Date:           Thursday, 3 Jul 2003 14:31:13 GMT0BST
Subject: 14.1363 Re: Othello on Bloom
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1363 Re: Othello on Bloom

>But anyway - how can skin colour NOT be "significant"...?
>When a producer casts a black guy as Henry Bolingbroke, say, doesn't he
>make skin colour MORE significant?

Not necessarily - and interestingly so.  Colour-blind casting means
precisely that we do not make any issue of the colour of the actor's
skin.  When Philip Voss (white) as Prospero had as his daughter Nikki
Amuka-Bird (black), in RSC 2000, an audience has learnt that the
question 'does this mean Prospero's wife was black?' is irrelevant
because race is irrelevant to their relationship as presented within the
play.

In the case of roles like Caliban, however, there can be much more
uncertainty: compare the irrelevance of Zubin Varla's colour to the 2000
production with the central significance of Geoff Francis's  in RSC's
2002 Tempest.  I think that the dominant assumption of an audience is
that the colour of the actor's skin must be ignored, unless the text or
the nature of the performance instructs us otherwise.

David Lindley
University of Leeds

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Don Bloom <
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Date:           Thursday, 3 Jul 2003 17:52:21 -0500
Subject: 14.1334 Re: Othello on Bloom
Comment:        RE: SHK 14.1334 Re: Othello on Bloom

From:           Terence Hawkes

>Keith Hopkins observes,
>
>I do not think Desdemona was a chaste person, and probably had a sexual
>history, and is very much of a product of the society she was born in
>to.
>
>Well, I wasn't going to say anything, but those of us who've seen her
>case history, plus the pre-sentence reports of her probation officer
>never did hold out much hope. There's the background of domestic
>violence and substance abuse for a start.  We're also pretty sure that
>that Mrs Lear was involved (again!), which explains the shoplifting. You
>knew she was dyslexic, I suppose?

Since it's absurd to name an award (the coveted "Hawkes") after a
possible recipient, I am re-naming it the "Hernshaw," and nominating the
Desdemona police file.

Cheers,
don

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