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June 09, 2010

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Deaf Indian Muslim Anarchist

"Apparently, in Germany, not so much. He also includes an author's note from a German playwright saying that although two characters in her play are black, they don't need to be played by black actors "for the pretense of authenticity."

my, my. what a glaring example of white privilege. This makes me want to vomit.

This is not related to theatre-- but I'll talk about a Bollywood hit called LAGAAN which was nominated for an Oscar. It's set in the late 1800s during British India. There are Indian and white British characters in the film. Very good film-- but there's one scene that always makes Indian audiences cringe and roar with laughter. this scene in the film had a white British woman singing a song in Hindi and she danced around-- typical Bollywood stuff-- but it was unbelievable, cheesy, embarrassing, and un-necessary. No one believes a white woman singing and dancing around like an Indian. everyone thought it was hilarious, even though the scene was supposed to be serious, sweet and romantic. Otherwise, her character spoke bad Hindi through-out the film, but that was expected of arrogant, white British people who came to India in the late 1800s.

as for bringing British plays to the United States, I've often wondered if that is necessary or a waste of time. On one hand, New York City should produce more new plays by American playwrights. On another hand, Americans should have the chance to see a foreign play-- just like you'd get the same chance to see a foreign film playing in an American cinema.

JERUSALEM (by Jez Butterworth) was a huuuuuuuuuge hit at Royal Court and the Apollo, there is talk about bringing it to New York City, but I think it will be a major flop. Americans won't relate to the Britishness of the play-- classism, English identity and "chavs."

99

I think his point about the authenticity of requiring black actors to play black characters written by a white writer is worth teasing out a bit. Do we do the author a favor by pretending that the characters aren't born from a white imagination?

I'm with you on seeing foreign film. Plays, though, aren't like films. I don't know if I'd go so far as call for a moratorium, but, if you're going to import a play about upper middle class folks, why ask people to do British accents? Why not just change the setting to New York and leave everything else the same?

Deaf Indian Muslim Anarchist

but 99, that's like asking a foreign filmmaker to remake his film and cast white Americans in it and speak English.

I don't like that. I want some authencitity in seeing a foreign play. Being Indian American, there are some Indians in my city who bring plays from India that go on international tours. I think that's a great way to let Americans see foreign plays performed by foreign actors. Although the problem is that these plays are not performed in English. lol

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