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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: July ::
Re: Colour-Blind Casting
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1446  Thursday, 17 July 2003

[1]     From:   Ted Dykstra <
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        Date:   Friday, 11 Jul 2003 11:14:23 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1432 Re: Colour-Blind Casting

[2]     From:   Sam Small <
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        Date:   Saturday, 12 Jul 2003 11:30:52 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1432 Re: Colour-Blind Casting


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ted Dykstra <
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Date:           Friday, 11 Jul 2003 11:14:23 EDT
Subject: 14.1432 Re: Colour-Blind Casting
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1432 Re: Colour-Blind Casting

John Zuill:

>The best place
>for actors to lose their colour-significance is New York from what I
>have heard and indeed seen.

I would include Toronto, the most racially diverse city in the world.

Ted

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sam Small <
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Date:           Saturday, 12 Jul 2003 11:30:52 +0100
Subject: 14.1432 Re: Colour-Blind Casting
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1432 Re: Colour-Blind Casting

This has been aired before on this list but not quite in this slant.
The politically correct lefties will come tramping out declaring that
skin colour matters not - in anything - in any way - in any play.  It's
nonsense, of course.  Skin colour is a physical attribute - like age,
gender, height, and weight.  A director casts his play or film and
selects the attributes that best suit the script.  There is nothing more
complicated than that.  This whole question is one of credibility and
must be judged for that alone.  Do we tolerate a hugely fat Romeo?  A
desperately ugly Juliet?  A 20 yearr old Polonius?  A male Ophelia?
Well, no.  The audience would find the casting incredible.  There is
expectation in the script even if there are no notes to the contrary.
Likewise a Rattigan play would look odd with a black lead male with two
white children.  The play is set in reality and cannot brook such breaks
with convention.  However, in my own play "Shocking Tales", which is a
surreal series of nightmare dreams, physical attributes can be mixed at
will.  A black actor friend of mine will play in it along with other
white actors and be their father son or whatever.  In other words the
context makes it acceptable.

What I do find appalling is the black tokenising that goes on in films
and television.  The inference is that we just don't notice the colour
of the actor.  Of course we do.  Just like if they were fat, short,
beautiful, young, etc.  Skin colour, like all other physicalities, is
part of the director's palette and he should be free to do his job.

SAM SMALL

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