Rich Griset 
Member since Jun 29, 2014


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Re: “Speed Dreaming

I don’t normally respond to comments on my reviews, but given the seriousness of what’s being alleged, I feel that I should address this. As I wrote, Raven Lorraine Wilkes did a very good job as Puck, but I have a problem with Jan Powell’s half-conceived staging. Powell sets the play in Cuba against a backdrop of the Spanish-American War and American imperialism, but does little more than dress up Theseus and Hippolyta to explore this. My review doesn’t actually say anything about race; I’m asking if Powell is trying to.

Issues of race and casting are complicated (enough so that I wrote this article in December: http://www.styleweekly.com/richmond/colors-of-the-stage/Content?oid=2002061), but directors who use colorblind casting still need to be considerate of the way race is perceived in conjunction with the play’s subject matter.

When I interviewed theater professor and director Tawyna Pettiford-Wates for the article above, she mentioned that casting a black Caliban (a servant) to a white Prospero in “The Tempest” could be problematic if not properly handled. In addressing the casting of Oberon and Puck with this production, I was pointing out that the context was incomplete.

24 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Rich Griset on 06/29/2014 at 2:38 PM

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