If you haven't caught up with it, allow me to point you to a fantastic post (really, an essay) among the responses to my review of Ross Mueller's The Ghost Writer, recently on at the MTC. Anon, heretofore known as Ghost, raises a thorny tangle of questions which your faithful blogger didn't, er, have the guts to raise herself, although I was also disturbed by the same questions. In particular, Ms/Mr Ghost addresses the elephant in the bedroom: Why is Brihanna (Margaret Harvey - who also gives the best performance in the play) Aboriginal? The length of Ms/Mr Ghost's post, which is I think a most acute discussion of the implications of this casting, suggests why I felt unable to ask this question myself - I just didn't know how to approach it without either crudely reducing the problem and sounding - um - racist, or on the other hand writing a thesis. (Yes, yes, I know, pathetic). As our own Ghost says:
Even if it was a simple as Margaret being the best actor for the role - I think we still have to consider the implications of casting, particularly in this story, which is so loaded and fraught with social complexities and challenges that I’d argue a “colour-blind” casting would be impossible. Can I be provocative, and dare to make the suggestion, that perhaps, it was easier for this MTC production to give an illiterate -Woodstocks - at- 10am-Horizon-smoking-woman-unable-to care-for-or-save-her-child, an Aboriginal identity? Could this have been thought somehow more audience-acceptable, rather than challenging the white, educated, urban, wealthy professional (WEUWP) audiences about the same traits in white culture? Why deliberately perpetuate such unhelpful negative stereotypes of Aboriginal culture, when these of Brihanna’s defining character traits, are actually, especially when seen in the Leskie case, products of class? Instead of offering a more benign symbol of black/white relations (which is what I suspect Mueller intended), The Ghost Writer feels to me to be quite sinister.
It's interesting, thoughtful and fair commentary which also addresses troubling gender questions - go read it in full here. Any further comments, especially from those who saw or were part of the production, are very welcome.