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peter feng's questions about the implications of casting parts by race,
gender, natinality, age, sexual preference, etc. simply demonstrates the
critical importance of having shared conventions (i.e., artificial and
arbitrary but stable rules of how to read certain conventional signs), a set
of conventions that our post-modern world with its post-modern discourses and
its post modern effort to interrogate all these discourses necessarily lacks
. . . remember that in Bill S's time the Globe could have men or boys playing
the parts of women and no one minded
 
of course to cast a man as a woman or a jew as a gentile or a dog as a cat is
politically suspect, not only because it deprives the latter group ineach
case of equal work rights but because it presumes that one can speak for
another . . . it is political arrogation and thus a form of cultural
imperialism . . . or so one might claim pushing certain common insights to
their furthest extreme
 
i think we have to recognize that ALL theater is predicated on the idea that
one person CAN speak for another
 
not that all acts of impersonation are thus legitimate, merely that the act
of impersonation is not, in and of itself, to be despised
 
Mike Frank
Cambridge MA
 
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