The above people are actual African Americans who were very good playing actual African Americans on Broadway in Bruce Norris‘s Pulitzer and Tony winning Clybourne Park, which riffed on the classic A Raisin in the Sun to make a comment on modern day racism.
Well, a German theater company was all set to do the play, but with a white actor playing one of the African American roles in blackface!
Can you imagine anything so bizarre?
Normally, nontraditional casting is OK with me, especially if it involves non white people in roles that have always been ascribed to whites even though they don’t have to be.
But when it’s the reverse, it can be quite problematic, like in this case, where the role was written for a black and can’t be reasonably reinterpreted by a caucasian with makeup.
Call me crazy but I feel the part has to be played somebody black–and certainly not someone dredging up the deservedly obsolete tradition of blackface!
That would subvert the whole premise of the play, put a black person out of work, and make for some lazy and twisted casting.
He’s pulled the right the do the production from the Germans.
M. Butterfly starring an actor with an eye lift?
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 18, 2012