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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: July ::
Re: Colour-Blind Casting
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1520  Monday, 28 July 2003

[1]     From:   M. Yawney <
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        Date:   Friday, 25 Jul 2003 18:01:04 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1512 Re: Colour-Blind Casting

[2]     From:   K. V. Sproat <
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        Date:   Saturday, 26 Jul 2003 13:10:54 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1512 Re: Colour-Blind Casting

[3]     From:   Mark Adderley <
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        Date:   Sunday, 27 Jul 2003 13:55:59 -0500
        Subj:   RE: SHK 14.1512 Re: Colour-Blind Casting


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           M. Yawney <
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Date:           Friday, 25 Jul 2003 18:01:04 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 14.1512 Re: Colour-Blind Casting
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1512 Re: Colour-Blind Casting

I think what has been fascinating and frustrating about this discussion
is that it is not really about ethnicity issues but rather about how we
each view theater.

If one expects theater to give an illusion of life as a photograph does
or to interpret life like dance, music, and poetry. If one expects the
former then one cannot accept any casting that deviates from one's
assumptions of appropriateness. If one wants the later, then one
welcomes the deviation. Race, gender, and other factors are matters to
pay attention to and ignore as necessary.

With film and television providing illusionistic drama, most theater has
moved toward interpreting reality rather than attempting any
illusion--especially in classical theater. Hence theater artists
impatience with realism and naturalism-preferring-audiences' impatience
with contemporary theater.

A semi-related sidenote: I recently read David Greenspan's She Stoops to
Comedy which is very interesting in light of these issues. It is the
story of a classical actress who disguises herself as a man to play
Orlando opposite her ex-lover (a woman) in a production of As You Like
It. The classical actress is played by a man. There is no attempt at
disguise or anything approaching realism. (For example: We are told one
character is either a lighting designer or an archeologist with
alternate versions of her activities described whenever she appears.)
Whenever something appears to be becoming "real" its theatrical nature
is foregrounded, which only enhances the humor and emotional impact. It
is appropriate that As You Like It is the background for this play on
the nature of theater, illusion, and the role of convention.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           K. V. Sproat <
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Date:           Saturday, 26 Jul 2003 13:10:54 EDT
Subject: 14.1512 Re: Colour-Blind Casting
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1512 Re: Colour-Blind Casting

>go all liberal and starry-eyed

A loaded phrase if I ever read one, perhaps intended to intimidate
persons like myself from professing liberal politics? Sorry, Charlie!
Proud of it!

Was Dr. King "liberal and starry-eyed," or a great leader with more
courage than most of us have ever known or can imagine having, who
CHANGED THIS NATION with nonviolent action?

KV Sproat
(I'm in the USA)

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Mark Adderley <
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Date:           Sunday, 27 Jul 2003 13:55:59 -0500
Subject: 14.1512 Re: Colour-Blind Casting
Comment:        RE: SHK 14.1512 Re: Colour-Blind Casting

"If I remember correctly, Klein interprets Hamlet's words about his "too
too solid/sullied flesh" to be a introspective commentary on his own
body weight, suggesting that Hamlet was on the heavier side (ok, it
sounded like a stretch to me, no pun intended, but he nevertheless does
make the claim in his book)."

Were these comments added by Shakespeare to please Burbage, perhaps, or
did Burbage suggest them?  It makes me wonder how much of the plays as
we have them were written by the actors.  Some of Feste's speeches seem
to me improvised rather than written, which would fit in admirably with
Robert Armin's known talents.

Mark Adderley
Missouri Valley College

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