Thursday, October 18, 2012

TIME Magazine: Blackface 'Clybourne Park' Production Cancelled in Berlin

Damon Gupton, Annie Parisse, Crystal A. Dickinson, and Jeremy Shamos star in a scene from "Clybourne Park," at the Walter Kerr Theatre, in New York.

Dominique-René de Lerma,, sends this link:

TIME Magazine

By Lily Rothman | @lilyrothman |
The Bruce Norris satire Clybourne Park, a Chicago-set play inspired by A Raisin in the Sun, has garnered raves and awards for productions in the U.S. (a Pulitzer and a Tony) and England (an Olivier)—but a planned production in Berlin has been canceled. Norris learned that one of the African-American characters in the play about race relations and class would be portrayed by a white German actor in blackface. In response, he withdrew permission for the Deutsches Theatre to do the show.

In an open letter to the members of the Dramatists Guild, a professional association of playwrights, Norris explained his decision. Having seen a 2011 German production of Clybourne Park in the city of Mainz, the author says that he looked forward to the play moving to the “somewhat prestigious theatre of good reputation” in Berlin—until he heard directly from the actress Lara-Sophie Milagro, who is black and appeared in the Mainz production, that her replacement in Berlin would be white. He contacted the management of the Deutsches Theatre:
Yes, they confirmed, it is true, we have cast a white ensemble member in this role, and we see no logical reason why we should cast an “Afro-German.” (If you are familiar with my play at all, the reasons are self-evident.) After much evasion, justification and rationalizing of their reasons, they finally informed me that the color of the actress’s skin would ultimately be irrelevant, since they intended to “experiment with makeup.” At this point, I retracted the rights to the production.

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