Update: Cross-Racial Casting ~ theatre notes

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Update: Cross-Racial Casting

The threads are spinning on this discussion. The comments are flying on Lee Lewis's paper on Cross-Racial Casting, with some interesting observations from American practitioners bringing an international perspective; Matt's response Lee Lewis's paper on Cross-Racial Casting is up at Esoteric Rabbit: "[Lee's essay] has inspired me in a way that, thus far, I'm still not entirely sure I understand". Ming at Minktails is more concerned with the problem of translating talk into action and there's a response from David at Jotternotes noting that it's crucially an artistic question. Tony (aka Jay Raskolnikov) has some fascinating stuff to add about "the safe black play".

At the moment, I'm feeling slightly uncomfortably that, aside from Ming, it's a bunch of "white" people talking. We need to talk, and I don't think we should stop - it's our problem too - but I'd like to hear something from those who find themselves filed under "other". (Update: An example of why it's our problem too can be found in this enraged comment on Nicholas Pickard's blog - as usual, most rage seems to come from those who haven't actually read the paper).

I'll resist spinning off into self-reflection, tempting though it is - the construction of privileged whiteness is something that has deeply concerned me, nay, pained me, for many years (I spent my first four years in apartheid South Africa, and I'm descended from bigwigs in the Raj in India, and I guess I feel it as a kind of scar, quite aside from some other familial complexities). But I just watched Peter Brook's Lear - a deeply appreciated gift - and am still a bit dizzied by its brilliance; and I think I ought to go to bed.


Steve Reynolds said...

Interesting, too, that the uninformed enraged comment on Nichloas’s blog cites a reviewer who seems not to have read the paper either. Apart from mistaking Lee for a male, Bruce Elder's ludicrous conclusion that she "doesn't seem to offer any plausible explanation or solution" beggars belief. You really have to wonder what reviewers like this are being paid for.

Sylvia Drake said...

Also, it's spelled "chutzpah".

Anonymous said...

Glad you appreciated it. I lay on the floor of my loungeroom after it finished for about 20 minutes, literally stunned.


Bardassa said...

Saw that film of King Lear at the old Metro Collins Street (used to be about two doors up from the Regent) when I was about 16. That scen in the hovel with Irene Worth lurking in the shadow(read: Lear's imagination) was stunning