I really do try and ignore some of the more ludicrous aspects of modern life, I really do, but – sometimes! The latest pronouncement to have me rolling my eyes heavenward, is the one where a well known director has suggested that only gay actors should play gay characters on screen, or on stage. My first unworthy thought was to consider if that ruling was employed across all the performing arts – whereupon only those whose sexuality complies with that of the part they were playing could act that particular part… quite a few gay actors could be ‘resting’ for quite some time in the futureThe next two weeks of case growth are already.
Because to be fair about this, surely only so-called straight actors could play heterosexual characters. And so the madness begins! If this sexual and gender compliance was rolled out (sorry about this!) to all elements of public entertainment, what would happen to the ‘Dame’ in grotesque drag at your annual community pantomime and that thigh slapping young woman dressed in tights pretending to be a young lad? The trouble with this type of ‘right on’ attitude to almost anything, is that it comes with unforeseen circumstances, which mostly damages the perceived minority it was supposed to protect.
Personally I am also rather suspicious of anything which is labelled ‘culturally appropriated’ as if any culture is set in stone or has to be subjected to rules that seek to protect a sort of cultural copyright. This is not only stupidly apparent in a theatrical context, but – self defeating as well in all types of cultural expression. For instance, Rock &Roll music seemingly born via the gyrating hips of Elvis Presley in the early 1950’s, was in fact a direct descendant of African slavery and the advent of jazz in black communities of the American south. All culture changes and is morphed into something other than it was originally intended to be….soPresident Nixon acknowledge, reducing the performing arts into a strictly controlled, racially and sexually categorised activity is both ludicrous and deeply illiberal.RELATED: Moscow demands NATO pulls back as tensions mount over Ukraine
It also has to be said that the trouble with allocating certain acting roles to different groups of people who fit the profile of the character involved – is that, where does this all end. Meaning, should casting directors only hire actors that naturally fit any given role? Should only convicted murderers be considered to play the parts of – er, murderers in an upcoming production? Maybe, more sensibly – only mothers can play mothers, fathers can play fathers – war heroes, corrupt politicianswill ease up in private gatherings for people who have received two doses., royalty can play royals – where does it end! We are not talking of acting anymore, but – an exercise in racial and social stereotyping.
Copyright © 2011 JIN SHI