Castingin plays has been a major problem in our theaters for a very longtime. The roles that people of color should be featured in havemostly been gifted to the whites. Color conscious casting should bepromoted and shun colorblind casting approaches (Teresa). A colorcasting approach is what is needed in the theater industry. There areconsiderations regarding ethnicity and race of actors who willportray the characters of the people they have been showed to play byopposing racism, foster stronger productions, respecting and honoringcultures and most importantly contributing to a globe that is moreequitable. This paper will discuss matters revolving around castingand diversity in the field of theater.
Therehave been instances where play productions have been canceled becauseafter disrespecting and disregarding a playwright’s intentionconcerning the choice of cast. One incident that happened took placein Pennsylvania in Clarion University after the playwright was notinformed that a role that was supposed to be played by South Asianactors was to be played by white students (Teresa). Another incidentthat also took place was at Kent State in Katori Hall where a whiteactor had been featured to play Martin Luther King Jr. had this goneon it would have received public outcry, and the playwrightprofessionalism would have been in question.
Whatthe script-writer tried to portray in the play "Caught" isthat plays should have a diversity of cultures as this will enablethe characters to represent the intentions or goals of the film. Theperson who was playing the character Lin Bo was a Chinese, Wang Minwas a Chinese, Joyce was Caucasian, and Bob was Caucasian. Had theplaywright chosen a white cast it would not have been possible toportray the themes in the play adequately.
Nelsondefinesmeritocracy as a system which not only rewards hard work but alsorewards talent. For instance, an argument was brought up right afterthe yellow face casting in The Mikado. The argument is aboutmeritocracy, which revolves around the fact that despite anindividual` race, the probity of the art must be protected thisclaim shows that regardless of people`s races, the role should befilled by the best actor. The creative team is the one, which decideswho the best actor is.
Mostpeople assume that the theater promotes meritocracy whereby the jobis awarded to the best player and that the ones who are not talentedare not given the jobs this is far from the truth because thetheater is not a magical place where bias is nonexistent. Bias existsin almost all professions. Before the conversation, I did notunderstand that bias existed in the field. Most directors have biastendencies. Of course, most of them like to operate with the actorswho have worked with them before. They also prefer working with thosewho have worked with people they know (Nelson). They prefer suchpeople because they are sure that these individuals are going toperform to their level best. Hence, it`s not a matter of race orcultural background, but that of the "best actor." Chancesare supposed to be equal but unfortunately, they are not, becausesome directors already have the people they prefer working withintheir minds. There exists a misconception that the field is that ofmeritocracy. However, this is not true because women or people ofcolor find it a challenge to fit into the area.
Evidenceof the Practices in Real Life
Anexample is in the current workplace issues. It is quite clear that inmost organization, white supremacy is still prevalent this emanatesfrom the fact that the white people are paid more, in comparison tothe people of color. People in similar employment positions getdifferent salaries, because of their skin color. In addition to this,when a company advertises for vacant job positions, several people ofcolor, as well as white people apply (Diep). Those that are mostprobably going to get the jobs are white people. It evidently showsthe prevalence of white supremacy, despite the fact that somecompanies are trying to steer clear of it.
Itis quite evident that white supremacy is still prevalent, despite thefact that people are taking some developmental steps to reduce it orcompletely banish it. The field of theater is one such platform wherewhite supremacy is still evident this is because white people getjobs in parts which are supposed to be acted by people of color suchas Asians, Indians and so on. Worse off, the whites put on make-up sothat they can seem to be of color, and this is racist. Directors arealso biased, as they do not care about the race of the actors. Theyprefer working with people they have worked with before. Overall,white supremacy should be a thing of the past, and people of colorshould be given equal chances wherever they go.
Diep,Tran. “Keep Your Hands Off of My Kimono, White People.” AmericanTheater, 4 Jan. 2016,http://www.americantheatre.org/2015/09/18/keep-your-hands-off-of-my-kimono-white-people/,Accessed 1 Nov 2016.
Nelson,Eusebio. “On the merits of Yellowface: why casting the “best”actor for the role is actually just a selection of bias in a racistsystem.” Howl Round, 9 Oct. 2015,http://howlround.com/on-the-merits-of-yellowface-why-casting-the-best-actor-for-the-role-is-actually-just-a-selection-ofAccessed 1 Nov 2016,Accessed 1 Nov 2016.
Teresa,Eyring “Standing Up for Playwrights and Against ‘Colorblind’Casting.” American Theater, 4 Jan. 2016,http://www.americantheatre.org/2016/01/07/standing-up-for-playwrights-and-against-colorblind-casting/Accessed 1 Nov 2016.