Meanwhile, On TumblR: Another Look At The Interracial Casting Of Romeo And Juliet

Imae via dailymail.co.uk.

Image via dailymail.co.uk.

I know that that there was some excitement of seeing the interracial recasting of Romeo and Juliet on Broadway. Then I read this interesting comment from Tumblrer ultraliberalwordmeister:

I get really frustrated when people decide to make R&J “relevant” by casting the two families as members of modern ethnic [groups] that are experiencing conflict. Not just because it’s boring and overdone and never as insightful as the directors and producers think it is.

It’s because the feud between the Montagues and the Capulets is explicitly a stupid bullshit pissing match between two powerful families that no one else takes seriously (and that even some members of the family think is silly).

So anytime someone decides to make R&J “relevant” by making those families black/white or Israeli/Palestinian or something along those lines, they a) undermine the seriousness of those conflicts by implying that a little kumbaya can prevent the deaths of young people, and b) erase the fact that, unlike the Montagues and Capulets, one of those real world groups is invariably guilty of violence and oppression against the other.

See who and what else is giving us Racializens something to think about on the R’s Tumblr!

  • Kim Voeks

    If you don’t like this one, you’re going to hate our production of R&J. It’s cast as a conflict over the fact that Romeo and Juliet are both women.

  • Kandace Levy

    Why does one have to infer that an interracial couple is a “stunt” casting, a way to highlight the discord between the two families. I cannot stand when people think this way. As a multi-racial woman I was ecstatic to see these two actors. In my eyes the race of Romeo and Juliet updates the play yet isn’t the dramatic forefront. In fact just enjoy the show and pay as much attention to their skin colors as you would if they both were traditionally white!

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  • Ellington

    I would say that the revamp of R&J a la Westside Story was very well done, and I think that productions that the ultraliberalwordmeister is not happy about are following that lead.
    It is a play by Shakespeare and a popular one, and maybe this ‘stunt’ casting is taking away from the bigger picture, but if it gets people talking and maybe opens someone’s eyes who were shut then I say it is copacetic.
    For me there are more pros than cons with this.

  • Baakus

    So… Is the White Romeo only going to get a platonic hug from Black Juliet, or are only Asian Romeos denied love in the most famous love story in the world?

  • http://eternalbookshelf.wordpress.com/ Ani J. Sharmin

    That’s a really good point by ultraliberalwordmeister. Maybe it would make more sense, when “updating” a the classic, to have two families who have a long-standing personal grudge with each other. This could perhaps still be done with an interracial couple, but without race being the reason that parents object to the relationship.

    • merchantfan

      The two interracial families might also have an interpersonal conflict. I did like the rival gang angle of West Side Story for this, since it isn’t normal these days to have family-to-family conflicts that escalate in violence, not like it used to be in Italy.