Date Thesis Awarded
Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only
Bachelors of Arts (BA)
Theatre, Speech & Dance
The idea that the United States is in a post-racial society is a lie. The ghosts of America's racist past continue to linger in the minds of all Americans. These prejudices and expectations are prevalent everywhere, including in a collegiate liberal arts theatre program. Casting is an integral part of how audiences perceive and interpret a play. It is therefore crucial that directors make responsible casting decisions to ensure that their decisions challenge and ultimately extinguish the existing racial and gender stereotypes of our time. In this paper, I identified the four different types of non-traditional casting as defined by Angela C. Pao, Associate Professor of Comparative Literature at Indiana University. I then studied the history of their usage in professional theatre. Finally, I tested these ideas and concepts by analyzing the casting decisions made in five faculty directed plays produced by the College of William and Mary. I have come to the conclusion that the college's casting policies are not centralized. While some casting decisions were "responsible" others simply confused the audience and supported existing prejudices and stereotypes. These problems can be overcome in various ways including an expansion of the dramaturge and a greater awareness of the role casting plays in each production.
Alston, Nathan L., "Silencing the Black Body; A Look at Non-Traditional Casting in a Liberal Arts Education" (2013). Undergraduate Honors Theses. William & Mary. Paper 593.
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