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#1 2008-06-19 00:46:11

Michelle Duffels
Member
From: Stratford, Ontario
Registered: 2008-03-28
Posts: 21

ROMEO AND JULIET

I recently have had my eldset son come home from his class trip from the Festival Theatre. He and his grade 9 class went and enjoyed the play, but a curious question came about.

Mom,   WHY is Juliet Black at the theatre but in any movie or question group shes WHITE!
Well never before has such an interesting topic of shakespeare came about.
Here is the theory of group disscusions from his school:
1. raise eyebrows, and questions
2. raise ticket sales
3. bring contraversy to stratford on purpose.

My son is not a stupid kid, and the question is Why. by all students too.

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#2 2008-06-19 06:13:47

Miss Manners
Guest

Re: ROMEO AND JULIET

Discusion about a topic is always a healthy indicator that the education system is doing its' job.
I would certainly hope that the educator involved in this certain discussion would discuss with her/his class the topics of artistic license and casting.It would be a shame if the above " assumptions" were taken for granted.
Shakespeare would have cast a 13 year old  english boy as Juliet because women were not allowed on stage. Times have obviously changed...people of all races and gender can play any role....and that is the correct answer.

 

#3 2008-06-19 08:56:32

Steel
Member
Registered: 2008-02-16
Posts: 2521

Re: ROMEO AND JULIET

I would agree with Miss Mannerisum artistic license allows the director to look at the play in various ways. The fact the the lead female is black is really of no direct consiquence. One could ask of course why in many productions of Othello is the lead played by a white guy?

The assumptions mentioned all assume that there is some underlying current to this other than the artistic merrit. I would like to think that the teacher is ot stupid either and discusses the artistic side of plays, casting, period etc etc.

Romeo and Juliet is a play that has been done and used in numerous ways both on stage and in film. Please pick up a copy of West Side Story at your local video rental place. I think you will see the point.

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#4 2008-06-19 09:13:28

allie
Member
Registered: 2008-03-29
Posts: 18

Re: ROMEO AND JULIET

Michelle Duffels wrote:

I recently have had my eldset son come home from his class trip from the Festival Theatre. He and his grade 9 class went and enjoyed the play, but a curious question came about.

Mom,   WHY is Juliet Black at the theatre but in any movie or question group shes WHITE!
Well never before has such an interesting topic of shakespeare came about.
Here is the theory of group disscusions from his school:
1. raise eyebrows, and questions
2. raise ticket sales
3. bring contraversy to stratford on purpose.

My son is not a stupid kid, and the question is Why. by all students too.

Since this is 2008,  shouldn't the answer be "WHY NOT"? 

Sorry, but I find this on odd question for a grade 9 student to be asking in this day and age and by odd, I mean racist...... Is it REALLY that contraversial to have a black Juliet as you imply and should it REALLY raise eyebrows?

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#5 2008-06-19 15:05:45

CaptainSensible
Guest

Re: ROMEO AND JULIET

allie wrote:

Michelle Duffels wrote:

I recently have had my eldset son come home from his class trip from the Festival Theatre. He and his grade 9 class went and enjoyed the play, but a curious question came about.

Mom,   WHY is Juliet Black at the theatre but in any movie or question group shes WHITE!
Well never before has such an interesting topic of shakespeare came about.
Here is the theory of group disscusions from his school:
1. raise eyebrows, and questions
2. raise ticket sales
3. bring contraversy to stratford on purpose.

My son is not a stupid kid, and the question is Why. by all students too.

Since this is 2008,  shouldn't the answer be "WHY NOT"? 

Sorry, but I find this on odd question for a grade 9 student to be asking in this day and age and by odd, I mean racist...... Is it REALLY that contraversial to have a black Juliet as you imply and should it REALLY raise eyebrows?

A 14 year-old boys asks this question and the conclusion you draw is that he must be a racist? 

A 14-year old asks why a character who is European is being played by an actor of African descent and that is proof positive he's on his way to a KKK membership?

Was it "racist" to question the Miss Saigon casting of Jonathon Pryce in an Asian role?  Was it racist when complaints were raised about Mickey Rooney playing an Asian role in the film adaptation of Breakfast at Tiffany's?

Here's a bit from Wikipedia on Mr. Pryce's "controversial" role in New York, that bastion of freedom and understanding:


1990s
After some minor roles in the big screen... Pryce discovered he wanted to do musicals after seeing his friend Patti LuPone on the original London production of Les MisÚrables.[28] He would successfully return to the stage originating the role of The Engineer, an Eurasian pimp in the award winning West End musical Miss Saigon. His performance was praised in England,[29][30] but when the production transferred to Broadway the Actors' Equity Association (AEA) would not allow Pryce to portray the Engineer because, according to their executive secretary, "[t]he casting of a Caucasian actor made up to appear Asian is an affront to the Asian community".[31] Cameron Mackintosh, the show's producer, decided to cancel the $10 million New York production because, he said, he would not let the freedom of artistic expression be attacked.[32] Realizing that its decision would result in the loss of many jobs, the AEA decided to make a deal with Mackintosh, allowing Pryce to appear in the production. He would then, in 1991, win a Tony Award for his performance.


I expect that none of the critics or "Equity" (ha, ha, ha - if they only knew what irony meant) officials had the excuse of being only 14 when they dared to suggest that roles had to be cast according to race.


Pun intended:  Lighten up!

Last edited by CaptainSensible (2008-06-19 15:13:48)

 

#6 2008-06-19 15:29:25

Steel
Member
Registered: 2008-02-16
Posts: 2521

Re: ROMEO AND JULIET

allie wrote:

Sorry, but I find this on odd question for a grade 9 student to be asking in this day and age and by odd, I mean racist...... Is it REALLY that contraversial to have a black Juliet as you imply and should it REALLY raise eyebrows?

Racist?....see this where I start to lose patenice with people who love to through that card at any question that centers on skin color.

By your response it what seem that the mear question as to "why" is an afront to blacks?.....really....it was a question....why a black person is in a role in a play that clearly had the origanal intent of Juliet being a young white girl. Whats wrong with that? Nothing. Whats the answer to a young kid ???...........

The answer is what Miss Mannerisum and I wrote and the good Cap'n elaborated on. There is no racisum in the posing of a question. There is racisum in the action Actors Equity insisted on however.

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#7 2008-06-21 08:24:06

Michelle Duffels
Member
From: Stratford, Ontario
Registered: 2008-03-28
Posts: 21

Re: ROMEO AND JULIET

My thoughts were not ever meant to be about racist ever!
My intention was that my son (who hates english) has taken an intrest because he noticed something different about the play.
The disscusions were what he told me he learned through his class and other kids opinions at school. I was just glad to see that a kid who never cared before took intrest in something he would probably never have.
I am glad to see that something is working to spark the students.

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