The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1484  Tuesday, 22 July 2003

From:           Anna Kamaralli <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 22 Jul 2003 11:38:06 +1000
Subject: 14.1459 Re: Colour-Blind Casting
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1459 Re: Colour-Blind Casting

I'm becoming very twitchy reading the number of posts that seem
unawareof, or hostile to, theatre that extends beyond realism. Realism
is no longer the default option for theatrical style, and hasn't been
for some decades. The theatre is simply not required to placate the

>one wonders why directors and actors insist on forcing audiences to
>suspend their disbelief more than is usual by idiosyncratic casting
>Larry Weiss

I'm appalled (almost to the point of working out a way to write e-mail
in italics) by the suggestion that it is a burden on the audience to be
challenged by unconventional production decisions. Please, let us
finally disentangle ourselves from the Moscow Art Theatre and the 1950s
local rep, and embrace the full richness of theatre that is not film or
soap opera, but is innovation, imagination and invention.

>Sam Small may be repulsed by all failures to cast to type or
>Thomas Larque.

Some examination of the difference between the two is probably due.
Casting to type means the heroine is always pretty. Casting
realistically means she is just as likely not to be for, as Brecht
exclaimed, "As if everyone who ever loved or was loved was beautiful!"

If we were to restrict ourselves to casting realistically the world
would never have seen Peggy Ashcroft's extraordinary Queen Margaret.
Obviously she couldn't be both an enchanting sixteen year old and a
haggard old woman, so how could she play both the Margaret of Henry VI
part 1, and of Richard III?

If we were to restrict ourselves to casting to type, theatre would die a
stuffy and strangulated death.

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