, 22 tweets, 12 min read Read on Twitter
1/I thought about this tweet a lot in the last 24 hours. I am going to parallel this guys @studioexec1 idea of acting to Scalia's idea of the constitution and why that limited framework hurts us all. Bryan Cranston having to defend himself for playing a disabled person is a prime example of the ridiculous culture we’ve created for ourselves. He’s an actor. For the love of Christ we all need to get a grip and stop the daily assault of outrage and nonsense.
2/ Antonin Scalia was a Constitutional originalist, meaning he felt the courts should interpret our Constitution as it was understood at the time it was written. npr.org/2016/02/14/466…
3/Scalia didn’t see the Constitution as a living breathing document. He saw it as 'dead.' My friend and business partner @QueenMab87 could talk more succinctly about that idea, so I will just leave that there.
4/The reason I bring that up is because @StudioExec1 is saying that actors should just be able to act even if that means casting an able-body actor as a disabled character. It’s just acting, right? That's what actors are taught, right?
Yes, and no no, god no.
5/If you're a Stanislavski 'originalist' then you’ll believe any actor can play any role. Stanislavski was the godfather of theatre. He influenced Strasburg, Stella Adler, Uta Hagen, teachers whose methods are still influential today. However, let’s look at some of his teachings An actor prepares Stanislavski
6/ Stanislavski’s ‘An Actor Prepares’ starts with him preparing for a role by putting on… drum roll please… blackface! Yep. Stanislavski rhapsodically discusses ‘covering his whole face with a sooty sate, the proper complexion of a Moor.’ Not just for one role but two. Sigh. covering his whole face with a sooty sate, the proper complexion of a Moor
7/You see, for centuries before and decades after Stanislavski, white men had no problem "playing" black women & men: from Othello to Minstrel shows, they thought every role was theirs for the taking – and stereotyping. Here's Orsen Wells & Sir Lawrence Olivier in blackface. Ugh.
8/And, of course, we know women didn’t really enter the theatre for centuries after its origins in Greece (their MIGHT have been some behind the scenes but that's still up for debate) In Greece white men played the women's 'roles'.
9/It wasn’t until AFTER Shakespeare’s death that women were allowed on stage, around 1660. Even then it wasn’t considered a ‘respectable’ career for a woman.
10/The first know theatre actresses (I say actor, but for this thread, I will call them what they were called) were all white: Eleanor ('Nell') Gwyn, Lavinia Fenton, Elizabeth Lamb, Viscountess Melbourne; Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire; Anne Seymour Damer.
11/The theatres in England where these early actresses worked had brothels located just up the street from them and so many people associated prostitution with being an actresses. Fun.
12/We don’t get the first black play in America until 1823, William Wells Brown
‘The Escape’ and black actors aren’t really given access to a large platform until we make one for ourselves during the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920s’. #BlackHistoryMonth
13/Casting, acting, theatre, entertainment, in general, has always struggled or fought against being inclusive, this is still true. However, we see now (right?) that black face & excluding women is antiquated (and bigoted!) even though it was an acceptable practice for years.
14/Back to the Constitution & 'An Actor Prepares'. While both have a strong framework, both have room for interpretation as much has changed since those texts were written. We must look at how those text left people out while seeing how these documents leave room for inclusivity.
15/ Stanislavski and all of the teachers he subsequently influenced agree on one thing: As actors, we should draw from lived experiences. In that framework, when casting a character with disabilities who has more lived experience?
An actor with disabilities.
16/The idea that every able-body actor should have a crack at every role with disabilities or that every cis actor should be able to play a trans actor is so ridiculously antiquated. It erases disabled actors. It ignores the fact that there are brilliant trans actors.
17/There is this scarcity mindset in entertainment with white cis-hetero-able-body people that THERE AREN’T ENOUGH ROLES TO GO AROUND!!!
Yes, there are. Stopped it.
Not only that, y'all are still getting all of the roles! 78% to be exact! 78% of roles go to white people 12% black 2.7% Latinx
18/Only 1.3 out of 10 film directors are people of color (Hi @ava, @JordanPeele @MatthewACherry 👋🏽 )
Only 1.4 out of 10 lead actors in film are people of color.
19/What about Disabled Actors? “Disabled people account for nearly 20% of the U.S' population, but only 2.4 percent of characters in movies are disabled.” 2.4 disabled characters, that doesn’t mean disabled people are PLAYING those roles. Below, none of these actors are disabled.
20/Watch a show like @Speechless_ABC w/ @micahdfowler @driverminnie It's brilliant, hilarious, it's grounded in truthfulness. In addition to Micah Fowler's acting craft, he brings his lived experience to the show. He anchors it. I want to see more of that.
20/Bottom line, to truly be inclusive we need to stop with this antiqued idea of what acting was. Inclusivity is not tokenism, it's showing us the world as it is. It's INCLUDING all of us. It’s healthy for us to see ourselves in story.
It's also great for the box office! /FIN
21/p.s. If you're casting the role of a 'computer hacker', you wouldn't necessarily cast someone who was a hacker, but what casting should do is open that role up to everyone, not just a cis hetero non-disabled white male, everyone. That's what's missing in the casting process.
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